Makes:8 to 12 servings
A hearty oven-to-table dish is a necessary element of any cook’s repertoire. When it’s also freezable and suitable for vegetarians, well, you know it’s a keeper. This lasagna is full of satisfying cool-weather ingredients and tastes even better when it’s made in advance, giving the flavors a chance to mingle.
What to buy: Look for unsweetened chestnut purée in most grocery stores or gourmet markets. We like Clement Faugier brand. If you can’t find chestnut purée, just thinly slice some jarred, roasted chestnuts and scatter them across the filling as you layer the lasagna.
We used Gorgonzola picante in this recipe, though you can substitute another variety of Gorgonzola or just about any other type of blue-veined cheese.
Game plan: Make a double recipe and keep one lasagna in the freezer for when company’s coming. Then simply leave it to defrost overnight in the fridge and pop it in the oven an hour before guests arrive.
1 (2-pound)butternut squash
3 tablespoonsolive oil
8 ouncescremini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 3/4 ounce)
2 ouncesGorgonzola cheese, cut into small pieces
Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the top third.
Prepare the squash: Peel off the skin with a vegetable peeler. Trim the top and bottom. Cut the neck from the bulb of the squash. Halve each piece lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Cut the squash into 1/4-inch cubes and set aside. (You will need about 5 cups. Save any remaining squash for another use.)
Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat. When it begins to smoke, add mushrooms and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and crispy at the edges, about 4 minutes. Stir in squash and cook, stirring frequently, until squash is browned. Add garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add water and stir, scraping up any browned bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pan. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Remove the pan from heat and set aside.
Spread 1/4 cup of the béchamel sauce over the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Cover with a layer of lasagna noodles, breaking the noodles as necessary to fit them in an even layer. Evenly spread half of the vegetable mixture over the pasta.
Pour 1/2 cup of the béchamel sauce evenly over the vegetables. Dot half of the chestnut purée over top. Cover the vegetables with a layer of grated fontina cheese and a sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano (use about a third of each). Repeat with another layer of noodles, the remaining squash mixture, 1/2 cup béchamel, the remaining chestnut purée, another third of the fontina, all of the Gorgonzola, and about another third of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Finish with a last layer of noodles and the remaining béchamel sauce, fontina cheese, and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Cover the baking dish well with aluminum foil. (You can prepare this recipe ahead and refrigerate for up to 1 day; allow to come to room temperature before baking.) Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking until the top is brown and the noodles are completely tender, about 10 minutes more. Allow the lasagna to stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Beverage pairing:Stoller Chardonnay, Oregon. Rich squash, mushrooms, decadent cheese—all things that are good with Chardonnay. In this case, a wine from Oregon is a good choice, as it has all the fruit of a California Chardonnay but maybe a little more backbone to stand up to all that cheese.