1.15.2013

Vegetarian Butternut Squash + Mushroom Lasagna

Butternut Squash + Mushroom Lasagna
I'm always on the look-out for new and interesting lasagna recipes. Over the holidays, I was on the hunt for a vegetarian recipe that would appeal to both a carnivorous and vegetarian crowd. I wanted it to be substantial enough to please both camps but also delicious enough that I would want to add it to my recipe repertoire. Enter this butternut squash and mushroom lasagne recipe, loaded with tender steamed squash, cremini mushrooms sauteed with onion, thyme and sage, and a rich Parmesan, mozzarella and ricotta cheese mixture.

Simply put, it was a winner-winner lasagna dinner. But during assembly, I was shocked at how much lasagna the recipe makes. Surely the quantity of ingredients would easily make two lasagnas, right? Not the case. After all was said and done, my large glass casserole dish was bursting with FIVE dense layers of squash, mushrooms and cheese. And that's not counting the eggs, which I omitted to accomodate the vegetarians in the crowd. The hour-plus cooking time was long but the house was wafting with the amazing aroma of bubbling cheese, earthy vegetables and herbs. Well worth it.

My meat- and veggie-loving guests ate the lasagna right up. Literally. Bryan and I had leftovers the next day and arguably, it was even better. 

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Lasagna
Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 1/2 pound crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced (about 3 cups)
  • 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 5 1/2 cups)
  • 1 14-ounce can vegetable broth
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
  • 4 tablespoons sliced fresh sage, divided
  • 3 15-ounce containers whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 4 cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • Olive oil
  • 1 9-ounce package no-boil lasagna noodles

Directions: Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté until soft, about 8 minutes. Increase heat to high; add mushrooms and cook until tender, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer mushroom mixture to bowl; set aside.

Add squash, broth, 3 tablespoons thyme, and 3 tablespoons sage to same skillet. Cover and simmer over medium heat until squash is just tender, about 6 minutes. Uncover and cook until squash is very soft but still retains shape, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, and remaining 1 tablespoon thyme and 1 tablespoon sage in large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper; mix in eggs.

Brush 13x9x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with oil. Spread 1 cup ricotta mixture over bottom. Arrange 3 noodles on top. Spread 1 3/4 cups ricotta mixture over noodles. Arrange 1 1/3 cups squash mixture over. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mushrooms and 1 cup mozzarella. Top with 3 noodles, then 1 3/4 cups ricotta mixture, half of remaining squash, 1/2 cup mushrooms, and remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Repeat with noodles, 1 3/4 cups ricotta mixture, remaining squash, and remaining mushrooms. Top with 3 noodles. Spread remaining ricotta mixture over; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Cover with oiled foil.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake lasagna, covered, 35 minutes. Uncover; bake until heated through, about 25 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. DO AHEAD:The lasagna can be assembled one day ahead and refrigerated.

Scrape the potatoes into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; scatter the marshmallows on top. Bake in the top third of the oven for 25 minutes, until the marshmallows are golden. Sprinkle with the pecans and serve.

MAKE AHEAD The sweet potato puree can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature and top with the marshmallows before baking. The spiced nuts can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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