Butternut Squash Lasagna Recipe

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In my quest to maintain a low carb diet, the main thing I miss is Italian food. I love Italian food but it is, of course, carb-heavy, because pasta. "Noodles" made from zucchini and squash (etc.) are OK, but they're just not the same.

I was peeling something one day with my Y-peeler, and got a case of the I-wonders. Depending on how it's cooked, butternut squash can be super-soft, like baked sweet potato, or firm-ish, like al dente pasta. So I says to myself, I says, I wonder if you could make lasagna with butternut squash "sheets" as the pasta. The internet provided no answers. The closest I could find was a recipe that uses disks of it as noodles. So it was time for some experimentation. I am pleased to report, it's doable. And fortunately it makes a lot of food, so the amount of time is worth it, unlike some of the other fancier dishes I make.

Makes 12 servings
Active time: 20-30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Equipment Needed

  • Large casserole dish
  • Y-peeler
  • Spatula (baking style)

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 3 cups shredded cheese
    Mozzarella for the top, plus more/parmesan/Italian blend for the filling
  • 2 cups alfredo sauce (or homemade)
  • 1 15oz container part skim ricotta cheese
    Regular ricotta is fine, too, but part skim has less fat
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1.5 cups finely diced onion
  • 1 lb ground chicken
    Any ground meat will work, I think chicken or sausage tastes best with the squash
  • 14oz crushed tomatoes
    1/2 of a standard can
  • 1/4 cup finely diced mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
    Or, 1/4 cup chiffonaded fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
 "Noodles!"

"Noodles!"

Instructions

  1. Cut the round ends off the squash
  2. Peel it down to the orange flesh
    Make sure to peel until there are no "veins" either
  3. Continue using the peeler to peel off sheets of squash; these are your noodles
    Save all of these, even the ragged or short ones, they'll be useful for covering gaps later
  4. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium-high
  5. Brown the meat, stirring continuously and breaking apart chunks
  6. Once browned, strain off the grease by dumping the meat into a colander; return to skillet
  7. Add garlic, onion, and mushrooms and cook until the onions are soft
    Stir regularly so nothing sticks; about 10 minutes
  8. Add tomatoes
  9. Reduce to a simmer and cover; cook for 10 minutes
  10. Preheat oven to 375°
  11. In a medium bowl, combine egg, ricotta, 1.5 cups shredded cheese, and remaining herbs/seasonings
  12. Mix well
    This is quickest if you first use your hands to get it roughly mixed
  13. Coat the casserole dish with cooking spray or oil
  14. Cover the bottom with a thin layer of sauce
  15. Put down a double layer of "noodles"
    They're too thin for a single layer, and as they bake they'll meld together; make sure to cover any gaps
  16. Spread a layer, about 1/4", of the ricotta mixture with a spatula
  17. Put down another layer of noodles
  18. Spread a layer of the meat mixture
  19. Repeat—sauce, noodle, ricotta, noodle, meat, noodle—until the dish is mostly full or you're out of building materials
    The top layer should be noodle; do not go all the way up to the edge, or you'll have a mess on your hands when it puffs up while baking
  20. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes
  21. Remove foil and bake for another 30 minutes
  22. Cover the top with the remaining shredded cheese and bake for another 10 minutes
  23. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving