Autumn has come to Northern California. This recipe is a delicious and nutritious way to use the butternut squash so plentiful locally at this time of year! Sized for 8 portions.
Portions: 6 to 8 (9 x 13 pan)
Portion Size: 8 oz.
4 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and diced large
1 lb. medium leeks, sliced in half rounds
3 T. olive oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
9 uncooked no-boil lasagna noodles (3 layers)
1/2 lb. Gouda or Fontina cheese, grated (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Toss the squash with small amount of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on sheet pans and roast for 45 -60 minutes, until tender enough to mash. Set aside.
2. Leek Béchamel: Warm olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until they soften and turn translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and continue to cook for 2 minutes more, stirring constantly. Slowly pour in milk, whisking constantly, and cook until bubbles begin to break the surface. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes more, until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Whisk in thyme, salt, nutmeg, and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Assembly: Lightly oil 9 x 13 baking dish.
a. Ladle enough sauce into dish to coat the bottom.
b. Cover the sauce with lasagna noodles.
c. Cover noodles with half of the mashed butternut squash, spread evenly.
d. Sprinkle with a third of the grated cheese.
e. Top with more noodles.
f. Ladle another layer of sauce over the noodles.
g. Layer with the rest of the squash, half of the remaining cheese, and top with another layer of sauce.
h. Top with last layer of noodles, and spread remaining sauce evenly over top.
i. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
4. Cover dish with foil sprayed with oil, tenting if necessary to prevent sticking.
5. Bake in a 350º F oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and noodles are tender. Remove foil for last 10 minutes to toast cheese. (Minimum internal temperature must reach at least 165º F.)
6. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!