Butternut Squash Lasagna With Bacon-Braised Greens and Béchamel Recipe

Meat Lite

Mostly vegetarian dishes with just a touch of meaty accent.

Butternut Squash Lasagna With Bacon-Braised Greens and B\u00e9chamel Recipe

This two-filling, bacon-y, béchamel-laced titan of a lasagna takes some time to prepare, but the result is well worth it. [Photograph: Lauren Rothman]

  • Yield:Serves 8
  • Active time: 55 minutes
  • Total time:1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • For the Squash Filling:
  • 1 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
  • Water
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •  
  • For the Greens:
  • 2 large bunches hearty dark greens such as chard and kale, well rinsed and sliced into wide ribbons
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 slices (about 4 ounces) thick-cut bacon, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 3 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  •  
  • For the Béchamel Sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  •  
  • Remaining Ingredients:
  • 2 (1-pound) boxes oven-ready lasagna noodles

Directions

  1. 1.

    For the Squash Filling: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Place squash cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet and add water until water level rises 1/4" inch up the pan. Bake squash until fork-tender and peeling away from the skin, about 35 minutes. Remove squash from oven, let cool slightly, then use a spoon to peel squash away from skin. Transfer squash to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth. In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups squash purée, ricotta, eggs and thyme and stir until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  2. 2.

    For the Greens: While squash is baking, prepare the greens. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat, then add bacon, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until bacon has rendered some fat, about 5 minutes. Add greens and cover pot for 5 minutes. Remove lid, stir, and cook until most liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

  3. 3.

    For the Béchamel Sauce: Heat milk in a saucepan set over medium-low heat. Wipe out Dutch oven and return to medium heat. Add butter; when it melts, add flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until mixture thickens and smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Add hot milk one cupful at a time, whisking constantly, until no lumps remain. Simmer mixture until smooth and thick, about 7 minutes, then remove from heat and add Parmesan cheese; season to taste.

  4. 4.

    Assemble the Lasagna: Add 1/4 of the béchamel sauce to the bottom of a deep lasagna pan. Add one layer of noodles, breaking into pieces and overlapping as needed to create a uniform layer. Add 1/2 the greens, spreading evenly over noodles, then spoon over another 1/4 of the béchamel. Add another layer of noodles. Spoon 1/2 the squash filling on, and smooth with the back of a spoon. Add another layer of noodles. Add the remaining greens and cover them with another 1/4 of the béchamel. Add another layer of noodles, and top them with remaining squash filling. Add final layer of noodles, and top with final 1/4 of béchamel. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over the top of the lasagna and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake in the 375°F oven for 45 minutes, removing foil after 25 minutes. Remove lasagna from oven, let set for 15 minutes, then cut into pieces and serve immediately.