Every Sunday I try to plan out the meals for the week and run them by John. There should be more emphasis on ‘try’ and less on ‘plan’. (Life usually gets in the way of my best laid menu plans.) When I told him I was trying out a lasagna with butternut squash, he gave me a ‘look’. A look that said ‘why are you messing up a perfectly good lasagna by adding squash’? Being the awesome husband he is, he did’t voice this aloud, but I knew what he was thinking. I took it as a challenge – to make a vegetarian lasagna that was hearty and delicious.
I started off with some spicy marinara. This sauce takes some time to perfect, an hour of simmering, so I moved on to the squash.
I tossed it with a little balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted it at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. The result was tender, caramelized chunks of butternut squash. While the squash was roasting, I mixed up the ricotta.
Then it was time to layer. A little marinara goes on the bottom, then a layer of no boil noodles. I like to use Barilla Oven Ready Lasagne Noodles. A layer of ricotta, squash, cheese and more marinara. Repeat then top with a final layer of sauce and cheese.
Have you ever made a lasagna, went to serve a slice and it falls apart all over your plate? Sucks, right? No worrying about a lasagna collapse with this pasta bake. This lasagna is dense, in a good way. John and the boys loved it. The squash was tender, but not mushy and provided a great texture in contrast to the smooth ricotta. The spiciness of the marinara paired well with the sweetness of the squash. Honestly, we didn’t miss the meat at all, I could tell when John went back for seconds. Mission accomplished.
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 small onion, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 t dried basil
- 1/2 t dried oregano
- 3/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 c dry red wine
- 1 – 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1 butternut squash, diced (about 4 cups)
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 T balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 t pepper
- 1 15 oz. container part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 c fresh parsley, minced
- salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
- 9-12 no boil lasagna noodles (I used Barilla)
- Start by making the spicy marinara. Heat the olive oil a sauce pan to medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent.
- Add the red pepper flakes, oregano and basil. Cook for one more minute.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and red wine. Bring to a boil then reduce temperature to low and simmer for one hour. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- While the marinara is cooking, roast the squash. Pre-heat the over to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Add the squash to the pan and toss with oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Roast the squash for 25 minutes.
- Prepare the ricotta filling. In a mixing bowl combine the ricotta, eggs, parmesan, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Turn oven temperature to 375 degress.
- To assemble the lasagna, begin by coating a 9X13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place 1/2 cup of marinara in the bottom of the baking dish. Put a row of 3 to 4 noodles on top of the marinara. Top noodles (in this order) with 1/2 of the ricotta, 1/2 of the squash, 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1/3 of the leftover marinara. Add another layer of noodles and repeat. Place 3-4 more noodles on top of the last layer, top noodles with the last 1/3 of marinara and 1/2 cup of mozzarella.
- Cover lasagna and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until bubbly.
- Allow lasagna to cool for 10 minutes, cut into slices to serve.
My baking dish was not quite 9×13 inches, it was more like 8×12, so I used 3 no boil lasagna noodles per layer. If your are using a 9X13 inch baking dish, use 4 noodles per layer.