Meatless Monday: Acorn Squash Lasagna with Brown Butter Sauce

December 12, 2011

Acorn squash lasagna with brown butter sauce is a rich a satisfying vegetarian dish. Sweet and earthy roasted acorn squash is layered with creamy ricotta and rich bechamel sauce.  Serve this comforting dish with a bitter winter green salad.  The contrast between the lasagna and fresh greens is amazing.  Acorn squash lasagna may become a new household favorite, I know it is one of mine.

Rustic Acorn Squash Lasagna with Brown Butter Sauce


2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese (Calabro is my first choice. It is the best I have found.)
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste depending on your cheeses)
1 small garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons flour
5 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
Browned Butter Sauce
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 sage leaves, chopped
Additional Parmesan Reggiano for serving
Squash - Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds. Turn halves upside down in a baking dish. pour in about 1 inch of water. Bake until flesh is cooked through, about 30-35 minutes. Turn right side up and cool enough to handle. Scoop out cooked flesh, put in a bowl and mix with rest of ingredients. Set aside.
Ricotta Cheese Filling - Mix all the ingredients together and set aside. Refrigerate if necessary.
Bechamel - Melt butter over low heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add flour and cook, whisking, for 3 minutes. Slowly add milk in a stream, whisking constantly. Add bay leaf and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, whisking frequently for about 5 minutes until thickened and reduced. Add salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf. Remove from heat and place in a bowl large enough to dip lasagna sheets. Cover with plastic until ready to use.
Lasagna - Place noodles in a Pyrex dish. Boil water and pour over noodles to cover. Be sure to separate them gently so they do not stick together. Let sit about 5 minutes until pliable. Remove and place on kitchen towel until ready to use. Cover.
Assembly - Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a baking dish with butter that is large enough to hold assembled lasagna. Cut noodles in half. Dip noodle halves in béchamel (be sure to coat completely). Place in baking dish and top each with about 2 1/2 to 3 Tbsp. ricotta mixture. (Do not spread out completely as mixture will spread during baking.) Repeat with another noodle half, dipping in béchamel. Place on top of cheese and then spread with about 2 1/2 - 3 Tbsp. squash mixture. Dip another noodle half in béchamel, place on top of squash and top with another 2 1/2 - 3 Tbsp. ricotta. Finish lasagna with one more noodle half dipped in béchamel. You can use a bit more of
Cover dish with aluminum foil (be sure dish is deep enough so the foil does not hit the top of the lasagna). Bake 20 minutes until heated through. Let this rest while you make the browned butter sauce. * A little of the cheese will spread out from the lasagna, but just scoop up the cheesy goodness along with the lasagna before serving!
Browned Butter Sauce - Melt butter in a pan on low heat. Add sage and stir and cook until butter is almost brown. Pour over lasagna and serve with grated Parmesan Reggiano.