Red Kuri Squash Lasagna with Mushroom and Sage Béchamel
Last month C and I were on vacation with some foodie friends of ours and for dinner one night we all decided to try out this Butternut Squash Lasagna by My New Roots (with a few changes). The decision on it was unanimous: great flavor, but a bit dry for our taste. I thought it needed some fat to add a bit of moisture to the recipe. I said then that I would come home and try to improve upon the basic ideas.
Two weeks ago was our last neighborhood farmers market (sad), and I picked up a Red Kuri squash, which sat our our counter until the other day because I wasn’t feeling inspired to use it. The only thing I could think of was that lasagna… but my ideas for improving it involved so much…work. Finally, though (in an attempt to avoid real work) I had myself a cooking day.
The result was a seriously labor intensive but well worth it dish. I am obsessed with this dinner. So obsessed that I’m making it again for company this weekend, and it makes me wonder how I lived so long without béchamel sauce.
1 large Red Kuri or Butternut Squash
3-4 cloves garlic
3 tbls + 1 tbls EVOO
1 tsp lemon juice
2.5 cups + 4 tbls AP flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 - 1.5 lbs mushrooms of choice
1/2 large white onion, diced
2 tbls chopped sage
5 tbls butter
4 tbls AP flour
4 cups milk
salt to taste
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Prepare Red Kuri Squash Puree: preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roast squash whole for approximately 20 minutes or until it can be cut through easily. After 20 minutes, cut squash in half and remove seeds. Return to oven for 40 more minutes, or until squash is soft. Let rest until cool enough to handle*. Once cool, scoop out squash and place in a food processor with the garlic cloves and lemon juice. While processing stream in EVOO. Puree until a smooth texture is achieved.
*While resting squash prepare pasta dough.
Prepare pasta dough: Mound flour on a clean work surface and make a well in the center. Crack eggs into the well, scrambling yolks with a fork as you do so. Slowly begin to incorporate flour into the eggs by pulling from the inside rim of the well. When a soft dough begins to form use hands to incorporate the rest of the flour and knead until dough comes together.
Clean work surface, scraping away any stuck dough. Wash hands and lightly flour work surface. Kneed dough for 6 minutes. When finished dough should be elastic and just a bit tacky. Roll dough into a ball, wrap tightly in cling wrap and let rest for at least 20 minutes*. Once rested, roll pasta out to desired thickness (or as thin as you can get it) and cut into strips.
*While the pasta dough is resting, prepare béchamel
Prepare Béchamel Heat 1 tbls butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cut mushrooms into quarter inch slices and add to hot skillet. Do not stir for several minutes, allowing mushrooms to brown and get crisp on one side. After approximately 4 minutes, add chopped onion and sage to the mushrooms, turn heat to low and sautee until onions are translucent. In a separate sauce pan, heat milk until just about to boil.
Push mushrooms to the edges of the pan to make a well in the center of the skillet. Add 4 tbls butter to the skillet and when melted, add flour. Stir rapidly, incorporating the flour into the butter until a paste forms. Begin adding milk to mushroom mixture, one cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring continuously. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Assemble Lasagna: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Spread a small amount of squash puree on the bottom of a baking dish. When water has boiled, drop pasta strips into water and cook for 30 seconds - 1 minute. Pull strips of pasta from the water and transfer directly to the baking dish, forming your first pasta layer. On top of pasta, spread another thin layer of squash puree. Sprinkle with fresh thyme, and layer with béchamel sauce. Repeat layers 1-2 more times. Sprinkle the top layer of béchamel sauce with parmesan cheese.
Bake until lasagna is heated through and parmesan cheese has become bubbly (approximately 20-30 min).