Today during our Live Thanksgiving Chat on the KCRW Facebook page I got a question about vegetarian main dishes for Thanksgiving. My recommendation is this Butternut Squash and Fontina Lasagna. As Russ Parsons said…”is there anything that doesn’t taste good when layered with bechamel, parmesan and cheese?”
My answer? No….there isn’t. I’ve done this same dish with sauteed mushrooms, but it’s hard to go wrong here. Keep reading for my recipe…
Butternut Squash – Fontina Lasagne
1 medium sized Butternut Squash
¾ pound Italian Fontina, cut into slices
2 cups grated imported Italian Parmesan or Grana Padana
Lasagna noodles, no boil
4 cups Bechamel Sauce (recipe follows)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Place it on lined baking sheet, cut side down. Bake until soft, approximately 45 minutes at 400º.
When the squash is very soft, remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. When cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh from the skin and place in bowl.
Preheat oven for lasagne to 325º.
Lightly grease a 9”x13” baking dish with olive oil or spray with non-stick spray.
Dip the lasagna rectangles in a bowl of cold water as you use them making a layer of them in a baking dish.
Drizzle a healthy amount of Bechamel over the layer of pasta. Spoon large tablespoonsful of cooked squash on top. Add a sparse dotted layer of fontina, then sprinkle grated parmesan. Continue layering in the same fashion until you have three layers of squash, fontina, béchamel and parmesan. End with a layer of pasta, béchamel and parmesan.
Cover with non stick foil and bake at 375 degrees until heated through, approximately 30 minutes.
Remove foil and let top layer color until dotted with golden brown.
Makes 1 quart
1 stick butter, cut into 4 pieces
½ cup all-purpose flour
4 cups hot milk
Coarse salt and freshly ground black or white pepper to taste
Small pinch or grating of fresh nutmeg
Melt the butter in a small heavy saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and stir to form a smooth paste. (Those angled wooden spatulas are great for this because you can really scrape the bottom of the pan and prevent burning.) Heat the milk in a separate saucepan or the microwave.. When it is hot but not boiling pour it into the roux (the butter-flour mixture), stirring constantly with a whisk. Make sure you get into all the edges of the pan to coax all the roux into the milk. Cook over low heat until the sauce thickens and the flour taste is gone. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add a hint of nutmeg.