This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson’s, ‘Nigella Christmas’ cookbook – and it’s wonderful. It makes a huge recipe – in fact I use my 40 x 33 x 9 cm (16 x 13 x 3.5 inch) turkey roaster (with the rack removed), it will feed 15-20 people, and there may still be leftovers! I’d say I make it once a year and since each layer can be prepped in advance, it really only takes about a half hour to put it together and get it into the oven. The key ingredient is FRESH pasta – we (meaning Brock) make our lasagna sheets from scratch and this is one recipe where if you don’t have the means, then please go to your local Italian market and buy the necessary fresh lasagna sheets. **Halving this recipe fits my 9 x 13 lasagna pan perfectly**
For the squash filling;
2 T. EACH olive oil AND butter
8 fresh sage leaves (or 4 t. dry sage leaves)
2 good-sized onions, peeled and finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 kg. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-3 cm cubes, weighed after it’s been cleaned and cut up (I’ve even cheated and bought it already prepared – if you buy it frozen, leave out the water)
1/2 c. dry white wine AND 1/4 c. water
1, 28 oz/796 mL can of diced tomatoes, undrained
2 T. salt AND 1 T. freshly ground pepper
For the tomato sauce;
2, 700 mL bottles of passata (strained tomatoes)
2 c. water AND 1/3 c. sugar
1 T. salt AND 1 t. freshly ground pepper
For the cheese layer;
450 g/1 lb. goat’s cheese AND 2 c. ricotta cheese
3 eggs AND 1 t. ground nutmeg (fresh if possible)
1 1/2 –2 lbs./600 – 800 g. fresh lasagna sheets – enough for 4 overlapping layers in your lasagna – I use 4 width-wise sheets per each of my 4 layers
enough fresh mozzarella to layer over the top of the entire pan – 2 large balls or 1 1/2 logs, sliced
For the squash filling – heat the oil and butter in a large skillet (with a lid) and gently fry the sage leaves for a couple of minutes. Add the onion and garlic and continue to cook for another 10 minutes or so until the onion is softened.
Add all of the squash and stir it carefully to coat it with the oil and onion. After about 5 minutes of stirring, add the wine, water, diced tomatoes, salt and pepper and simmer, covered, for about an hour – stirring occasionally – to evenly cook the squash. Taste for salt and pepper and leave it to cool.
If you’re making this portion ahead, let it cool completely and then cover it well and put it in the fridge until you need it – I usually cook it a day or 2 before I make the lasagna.
For the sauce – this is quick so just make it before you assemble the lasagna. Add all of the ingredients into a large bowl and whisk it all together. You’ll need to whisk it again right before you use it as well.
For the cheese layer – in a separate bowl, combine the goat’s cheese, ricotta, eggs and nutmeg and beat together – if the cheese is at room temperature, this should be easy to do by hand. Set aside or refrigerate until you need it.
Putting it altogether;
Preheat the oven to 400 and have all of your prepped layers ready. Spray your extra-large casserole or roasting pan and pour in just enough tomato sauce to cover the bottom – 2 or 3 cups – and set the rest aside until it’s all assembled.
Next, lay down a layer of overlapping lasagna sheets, then about 1/3 of the squash mixture and spread it as evenly as possible, then blob on 1/3 of the cheese mixture – it won’t spread, so just help it out and blob it all over evenly.
Then, lasagna sheets, squash, cheese, lasagna, squash, cheese and finally finish with the last lasagna sheet layer.
Re-whisk the tomato sauce and carefully pour it all over the entire lasagna. Do it slowly, you want it all to sink in through the layers, and then you want to just barely cover the top lasagna layer – if you have some left over, don’t worry, you don’t want to drown it either.
Lastly put on your layer of fresh mozzarella.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes and check it regularly – if the mozzarella gets too crispy, you may want to cover it all with tin foil to finish cooking. It won’t seem like enough time for something so large, but when it’s done, let it rest for a good half hour before you cut into it to serve it – it will be done! This is really good lasagna.
- Category: Make-ahead, Squash, Lasagna