You know, I am realizing I am such a lasagna kind of girl.
Or really, I am just a cozy foods kind of girl. Even in the summer I somehow manage to make summer food cozy. It’s a gift I tell ya.
But first, how was everyone’s Halloween weekend? Asher wore the Elsa dress I gave her for her birthday. For once it was a decent Halloween night here (last year there was a blizzard!). The town of Frisco closes off Main Street and all the little trick-or-treaters get to run down the mile long strip (well more like a half a mile, they don’t close off the entire street) from business to business begging for candy. My parents said it was a really nice night and surprisingly, not all that crowded.
Since it’s Monday and the last three days have been a little dramatic around here, I am keeping things semi-short (I will tell you all about it in another post).
So let’s get on to this simple caramelized butternut squash and kale florentine lasagna. You see, when I talk about cheesy pasta and such my mind seems to forget all my worries. It’s the coziness of it all. I freaking love coziness like no other.
Also, aren’t my big, medium, little and extra little butternut squashes so stinkin’ cute??? Blake (the kid who practically lives here) gave them to me. His mom grew them at her house in Aspen and she sent them with him for me. I was in love with them and actually kind of sad to cut into them. No more cute little family of butternut squashes.
Enter sad face.
I think lasagne (did you know that is the plural form of lasagna? I sure didn’t – thank goodness I looked it up!) are the best. You can make them in advance, you can freeze them, they are perfect for company, they feed a crowd and lasagna is a dish where pretty much everyone says, “YUMMERS”. Ok, they might not say yummers, but they should. I like that word, it’s cute.
Not to mention, you can almost always count on lasagne being good. Again, cheese and pasta… pretty hard to mess up a lasagna.
Last year I showed you guys my very favorite Classic Lasagna. It’s my go to dish around the holidays and I honestly make it all the time. My family loves it, really everybody loves it.
This year though, I wanted a lasagna that was heavy on the vegetables. I am such a huge fan of butternut squash and kale, but the combo together sounded perfect for a lasagna and that was that. I was making butternut kale lasagna and I was making it florentine style. Instead of spinach, I substituted Kale and of course, went heavy on the cheese.
I actually made my homemade pasta and I made it using whole wheat flour, and you know what, it was awesome!! Seriously, no one even noticed the difference and the whole wheat pasta fits really well with the earthy flavors of the kale.
I wanted this squash and kale florentine lasagna to be simple, so I am telling you guys that if you want to, you can use no-boil whole wheat lasagna (use DeLallo, it’s the best!). But if you can, make homemade lasagna noodles. It really does not take much time and the little extra effort is so worth it. The noodles melt in your mouth. Melt. In. Your. Mouth.
I used the this recipe, but subbed all white whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour. Worked like a charm.
And the rest is simple. I caramelized a lot of butternut squash with a little garlic, nutmeg, sage and thyme. It’s such a good combo and I love the texture you get from caramelizing the squash. I think it is so good. Then I tossed in the kale to cook it down a little and that’s pretty much it.
You just need to make your béchamel sauce and then layer everything together. Pretty simple and it’s great for entertaining because like I said you can prep everything in advance and then just bake before eating.
See, now didn’t all that cheesy pasta talk cozy up your Monday?
Simple Caramelized Butternut Squash and Kale Florentine Lasagna.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 cups cubed medium butternut squash (about 1 medium)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg plus a pinch more for the béchamel
- 6 leaves fresh sage chopped + more for topping
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme chopped
- 1 large bunch kale roughly chopped
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 1/2 cups warm milk I use 2%
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated, plus more for serving
- 4 ounces blue cheese crumbled (or use cream cheese or mozzarella)
- 8 ounces fontina cheese shredded
- 1 pound no boil whole wheat lasagna noodles
- Toasted pumpkin seeds + salt for topping
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. and grease a 9x13 inch baking dish - if baking the lasagna right away.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the butternut squash and sprinkle with brown sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat stirring frequently to avoid burning for 10 to 15 minutes or until the squash begins to caramelize all over. Add the garlic, nutmeg sage and thyme, cook 5 or so minutes more.
Now remove the skillet from the heat and add the kale, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. The heat from the pan will cook the kale down.
Meanwhile, make the béchamel sauce. Melt the butter over medium heat and allow the butter to brown lightly. Once the butter begins to brown, add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in the warm milk in a steady stream. Add the a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and simmer for 2 minutes, whisking. Remove from the heat, stir in the blue cheese (or mozzarella) and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.
To assemble the lasagna, spoon a little béchamel onto the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Add a layer of lasagna noodles. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the butternut + kale mixture over the noodles. Now add 1/3 of the fontina cheese and drizzle with a little béchamel. Repeat the layering process until you have three to four layers. Once you get to the very top, spread any remaining béchamel over the noodles. Sprinkle with the last of the fontina cheese. Feel free to add more cheese if desired!! Top the lasagna with sage leaves.
Spray a piece of tin foil with cooking spray and cover the the lasagna. At this point the lasagna can be placed in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen.
Bake, covered for 35-45 minutes and then uncovered for 15 minutes more. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. If your lasagna was cold prior to baking, bake covered for 15-30 minutes longer.
How could it not? Just look at that. YUMMMERS.