What with all the autumnal weather and winter squashes on sale, it seems high time for lots of warm, filling, comforting food. I said “acorn squash”; Jud said “lasagna?” and we were off.
Served with Jud’s signature roasted-beet salad with fresh dill.
The lasagna turned out great, and it’s a recipe that would be easy to make soy free and/or commercial-cheez free, if needed or preferred.
Autumn White Lasagna
Makes a 9″x13″ pan, easily serving six
12 lasagna noodles, precooked (I wouldn’t recommend the no-boil ones for this recipe since the dish might turn out dry. Bonus if you can find whole-wheat noodles)
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. oil
pinch of salt
2-1/2 lbs. winter squash, peeled and roasted until very tender (cutting in pieces first will speed up this process and help avoid excess moisture in the finished product, but if you have precooked squash or want to just throw the thing whole into the oven to peel and seed once cooked, go for it.)
1 lb. chopped frozen spinach, thawed
1/3 cup Earth Balance or oil
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh garlic
1/2 cup flour
3 cups unsweetened soy or other milk (important to use unsweetened here, since the other ingredients are already fairly sweet)
salt to taste
1 tsp. dried whole thyme (or rubbed sage, or a mixture of two)
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1-2 tsp. garlic salt
2 Tbsp. lemon juice or white wine vinegar
1 package Daiya mozzarella
Preheat oven to 400. Combine cauliflower, onion and oil and pinch of salt in a shallow pan and roast until tender and starting to brown. We roasted the squash at the same time. Stir once or twice during cooking. When done, reduce oven temp to 350.
While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the béchamel sauce. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, sauté the garlic in the margarine or oil 1-2 minutes, not allowing the garlic to color. Add the flour and stir well, cooking mixture while stirring until the color deepens slightly to a light golden brown. Quickly whisk in the soy milk and continue whisking to smooth out any lumps while the sauce thickens. Add the nutmeg and a dash of salt, then check seasoning. Cook until sauce is the consistency of heavy cream.
When the squash is ready, mash it coarsely together with the spinach, thyme, pepper, garlic salt and lemon juice or vinegar. Check seasonings and adjust as needed.
To assemble, pour a couple tablespoons of béchamel into the bottom of the pan and spread thinly to coat. Lay down a layer of noodles (three fit perfectly for us, but trim noodles as needed to fit), then carefully spread on 1/3 of the squash mixture followed with 1/3 of the cauliflower and onions.
Top with 1/4 of the sauce, drizzled on as evenly as you can. Lightly sprinkle with 1/4 of the mozzarella.
Repeat with two more layers of noodles, vegetables, sauce and cheese. Top with a final layer of noodles, thinly coated with sauce and sprinkled with the remaining cheese.
Bake 45 minutes at 350, or until bubbling around all the edges and just starting to brown on top. A glass baking pan will make it easier to see when it’s done.
Rich, velvety, vegetable-filled lasagna.