Last week I had a severe crisis on my hands: I bought a ginormous butternut squash for a mere $1.50. I’m serious that the thing was easily 5 lbs. I needed a mere pound of it for last week’s Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette so I had a lot leftover. Three and a half pounds worth to be honest. I’ve had this recipe for Butternut Squash Lasagna sitting in my Pinterest account for a long time, and with the sub-freezing temperatures here in South Jersey it sounded like the perfect opportunity. There was only one problem. This recipe is pretty high in fat. At 549 calories per serving it isn’t actually too bad calorie wise, but I knew I could tweak it just a bit to get it below 500 and drop some fat. (You could absolutely cut the calories in this some more by switching out the 4% cottage cheese for fat free if you really wanted.) So here goes!
I had a blast taking photos of myself making this dish, but since I used my front facing camera please excuse the graininess.
I don’t have photos of the whole squash because a) I’d already used some of it previously and b) The Hubs was super helpful and had already cut it up for me! Also, I’m not sponsored by any of these brands you’ll see in the photos (although if they see this and are interested, contact me! 😉 ) I drizzled the olive oil and salt onto a sheet pan lined with foil, then tossed the squash in it. It went into a preheated 450 degree oven for 30 min while I worked on the rest.
The milk and sage went into a large saucepan and I set it over medium heat. Don’t walk away from it at this point, because if it winds up hitting a boil you’re going to be scrubbing scalded milk off of your stove for hours! I brought it just up to a simmer and then turned off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then pull out the sage. Meanwhile…
Next I made a white roux. A roux is a thickening agent consisting of equal amounts fat (in this case, butter) and flour, cooked together into a paste. I softened the garlic in the butter over medium heat before I added the flour. Cook the flour just about a minute, don’t let it brown. Remove from the heat.
Next up I combined the milk and roux to make a béchamel. A béchamel is one of the basic French “mother” sauces, so it’s a really good one to learn. Off heat, I whisked the warm milk into the roux. I then returned it to medium heat and whisked gently until it came to a simmer and thickened. It’s done when you can draw a line in the back of a spoon with the sauce.
By then the squash was all cooked so I stirred that into the sauce. Voila! I turned the oven down to 375 degrees.
Then it was time to layer! I used two 8 x 8 glass baking dishes so I could freeze one for later. I poured one scant cup of the sauce on the bottom of each, then layered two pasta sheets on top. I repeated this step three more times, ending with pasta sheets.
Next I mixed the cottage cheese and Parmesan together in a bowl, then split the mixture between the two lasagnas and spread it evenly on top. I covered each with aluminum foil and popped them in the oven.
I baked each one for 30 minutes at 375 degrees, then I removed the foil and baked them for an additional 10 minutes until the cheesy topping got golden brown and bubbly! The hardest part? Waiting ANOTHER 10 minutes for them to rest so I could nom a piece! (Definitely let them sit so they can solidify a little before you try to cut into them or you’ll have an oozy mess.)
Man oh man was this good. The pasta was cooked through but still al dente so it contrasted perfectly with the soft and creamy butternut squash filling. The filling was delicately flavored with hints of garlic and sage, and the cheesy topping adding the perfect level of saltiness. The best part? It’s a pretty sizeable portion, too!
I managed to tweak the recipe down to under 500 calories per piece, but as I said above, you can definitely get that lower if you use fat free cottage cheese. Here are all the numbers:
|Original Recipe||My Version||Even Lower Fat|
I hope you guys like the format I used for this recipe. I found it really fun to take pics of myself doing the work, and I’m going to be working on improving the photo quality over the next few months (saving up for a digital camera) and also The Hubs and I will be converting one of our Ikea tables into a rolling cart in the kitchen so I’ll have some extra work space (I’ll be documenting the process I promise). Definitely let me know if you try this one! It’s worth the time, I promise. 🙂
Lighter Butternut Squash Lasagna
A lighter yet still velvety and luxurious butternut squash lasagna with hints of sage and garlic.
- 3 1/2 lbs peeled and seeded butternut squash, cut into 1/4″ pieces
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 quart 2% milk
- 1 small bunch sage
- 4 Tbsp butter, salted
- 1 Tbsp garlic, minced (3-4 cloves)
- 4 Tbsp flour
- 2 cups 4% milkfat cottage cheese
- 1 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, shaved
- 1 box (mine was 9 oz.) no boil lasagna noodles
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- On a sheet pan covered with aluminum foil, toss butternut squash with olive oil and salt. Roast for 30-40 minutes until soft but not charred.
- In the meantime, combine milk and sage in a medium saucepan over medium low. Bring it just to a simmer and then shut it off. Allow the sage to steep in the milk for at least 10 minutes, then remove the sage leaves from the milk.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté garlic in butter until fragrant but not browned. Sprinkle in flour and stir well to form a roux. Cook over medium heat until slightly thickened and golden. Remove from heat.
- Slowly whisk the milk into the roux mixture, then return to medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and holds a line when a finger is swiped across the back of a spoon. Stir in the roasted butternut squash cubes.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees.
- In each of two 8 x 8 glass baking dishes, layer 1 cup sauce, then 2 noodles, sauce, noodles, sauce, noodles, sauce, ending with noodles.
- In a medium bowl, stir together cottage cheese and Parmesan. Divide evenly between the two dishes and spread evenly over the top. Cover each dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or until top is slightly golden and bubbly. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.
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