You can assemble and chill the lasagna a day ahead, but add 10 to 15 minutes to the baking time. You can also freeze the lasagna, wrapped well in plastic wrap, for up to 1 month and bake it frozen (add 1 1/4 hours to the oven time).
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium red onion, peeled and sliced
3 peeled garlic cloves (1 minced, 2 left whole)
2 cans (14 oz. each) crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
About 1 tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper, divided
6 cups (about 2 lbs.) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-in. cubes
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 pound Lacinato kale (often sold as dinosaur or Tuscan kale)
Preheat oven to 400°. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a 2- to 3-qt. pot over medium heat. Add onion and minced garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer until thick and flavors are combined, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
While sauce is cooking, in a 12- by 15-in. baking pan, sprinkle squash with thyme, remaining olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic cloves and toss squash mixture to coat with oil. Bake until soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 3 qts. salted water to a boil in a large pot.
Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Transfer squash and garlic to a food processor and purée until smooth.
Tear kale leaves from center ribs and discard ribs. Boil leaves until soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain; let cool. Squeeze out as much water as possible and chop finely.
In the same pot, bring another 3 qts. salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until tender to the bite, about 10 minutes. Drain; rinse with cold water.
In a bowl, mix ricotta, nutmeg, 1 cup mozzarella, and remaining 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper.
Coat the bottom of a 9- by 13-in. pan with 1/3 of tomato sauce (about 1 1/2 cups). Lay 3 noodles in a single layer over sauce. Top noodles with squash, spreading evenly. Sprinkle 1/2 of kale evenly over squash. Arrange 3 more noodles on kale and top with ricotta, spreading evenly. Top with remaining kale and noodles. Cover noodles with remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella.
Bake lasagna until juices are bubbling and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.
Note: Nutrition analysis is per 4 1/2- by 4 1/2-in. serving.
Like others said, this takes a lot of prep, I feel like i used every dish in the kitchen! Butternut squash is hit or miss with me, but this recipe is tasty. I'm on a challenge to use my cookbooks by cooking one new recipe per week, this was the one I chose because I'm also interested in being able to cook more vegetarian dishes., that said, ground turkey or ground pork would go a long way in this, it's definitely missing a firmer texture, everything is just soft and creamy which is weird for lasagna. I'd also add seasoning or aromatics to the kale next time. Lastly, I think the recipe given for the red sauce is pretty damn good and I will be using it elsewhere.
This recipe is definitely very labor intensive (don't start it at 9pm like I did!) but worth it if you have the time/patience. I'm very pleased with how well it turned out! I used semolina noodles instead of wheat because I couldn't find any wheat noodles that weren't "no cook" (the kind you supposedly don't have to cook first) & I've heard those are a major no-go since they soak up all the moisture in your lasagna while it bakes. The semolina noodles turned out great. I cooked the squash almost twice as long as the recipe recommends to make sure it was really cooked through. Although it would have added yet another step, I wish I had sauteed the kale with some shallot after blanching because it definitely needs more flavor. In fact, next time if I'm really ambitious, I will sauté the kale with some shallot and then blend it with the butternut squash. I added ground turkey too, BTW. Overall the flavors come together well, especially if you let it sit for a little while after baking.
Yes, it's a lot of work but ours turned out really well! Loved the nutmeg combined with the butternut squash! It's too bad that the prep is so time consuming and messy because I can only pull that off for special occasions.
This was not at all what I was expecting - the flavors did not go well together and the texture was really unappealing. I never throw away food, but this had to be tossed - neither my husband nor I could stomach it. And it's a LOT of work!
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