french creek kitchen
Butternut Squash and Pesto Lasagna
4 tablespoons butter, split
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 lbs butternut squash, cut into large cubes
2 sprigs of thyme
2 big handfuls spinach
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Pesto, store bought or homemade (recipe below)
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
6 oz goat cheese, room temperature
15 oz whole milk ricotta, room temperature
lemon zest from 1 lemon
16 oz lasagna noodles
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk
Preheat the oven to bake at 375 F.
In a large sauté pan melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the butternut squash, 1 teaspoon of salt and a few grindings of fresh pepper and stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often and then pour in 1/4 cup of water and the two thyme sprigs. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and give it a stir. Cook for 5 minutes or until most of the moisture is evaporated and the squash is soft. Remove the thyme stems and mash the squash a bit with a wooden spoon so that no large chunks remain. Add the spinach to the pan and mix it in, cook for 2 minutes or until the spinach is wilted. Move the squash-spinach mixture to a bowl, and set aside while you prepare the rest of the lasagna.
In a medium bowl mix together the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 teaspoon of salt, zest of 1 lemon, and a few grindings of fresh pepper. Mix until well combined and then set aside.
Heat a large pot of salted water for the lasagna noodles over high heat. Bring to a boil and then cook according to the package instructions. Drain well and set aside for assembly.
While the noodles cook, heat the 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When melted, add the 2 tablespoons of flour and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk, a 1/4 cup at a time, stirring with a whisk to remove any lumps before adding the next 1/4 cup. Repeat the process until all the milk is in the pot and the mixture is smooth. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook over medium heat until it starts to thicken. Stir in the pesto and 1/4 cup of parmesan, taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Turn off the heat and cover the pot with a lid.
Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with oil or pan spray. Spread 1/2 cup of the pesto sauce on the bottom of the pan and then lay four of the lasagna noodles on top in an even layer. Spread 1/3rd of the remaining pesto sauce in an even layer on top of the noodles and then evenly scatter half of the butternut-spinach mixture on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and then lay 4 more noodles on top of the cheese. Spread half of the ricotta-goat cheese on top of those noodles, and then top with another 4 noodles. Spread half of the remaining pesto sauce in a thin layer on top of those noodles, and then the remaining butternut-spinach and 1/4 cup parmesan. Lay 4 more noodles on top and then the remaining ricotta-goat cheese on top of those noodles. Lay the final 4 noodles on top of that, and spread the remaining pesto sauce on top of those noodles. Top with the last 1/4 cup of parmesan and move the aseble lasagna pan to the oven. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden brown.
Let stand for 5 minutes and then serve.
5 cups fresh basil, packed
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt, more as needed
2 cups olive oil
Into the bowl of a food processor place the basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan, zest and juice of the lemon and 1 teaspoon of salt. Pulse 5 times, and then with the machine running, slowly pour in the olive oil in a slow even stream. When all of the olive oil is added, turn off the machine and taste. Add more salt if needed. Move to a bowl and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.