Butternut Squash and Kale Lasagna

I have been wanting to make a white lasagna for some time now. When I saw the combination of butternut squash and kale, I could not make this recipe fast enough. The first time I made this, I was skeptical about the butternut squash filling. I have now spiced this up a bit because it was kind of bland. Be generous with the salt and pepper. If you under season the squash, the flavor will fade away. Warning: Do not eat all the kale before you make the lasagna! If you have not made this kale before (a la Spicy Kale Pizza), you will be floored by how delicious it is. Keep an eye on your kitchen helpers as well, they will be eating this kale out of the pan. This can be stored just like the Lasagna with Turkey Sausage Bolognese. You can cut this into servings and freeze them. Serve this with a fancier chardonnay. I like Chateau de la Greffiere Chardonnay from Burgundy, France. It is amazing, a little pricier than your every day bottle of wine, but worth it! It is smooth and oaky and complements the spicy richness of this lasagna.

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Butternut Squash and Kale Lasagna.

1 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed.
Water
1 lb ricotta cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp sriracha
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large bunches (approx 3 cups chopped) kale, sliced into wide ribbons
1 tbsp olive oil
3 slices thick cut bacon (4 oz)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

4 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp flour
4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

2 boxes oven ready lasagna noodles

Make the squash filling:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place squash cut side down in a 13 x 9 inch pan. Add water until 1/4 inch the way up the sides of the pan. Bake squash for 35 minutes, until it is easily scooped out with a fork. It should be peeling away from the skin. Scoop all the squash out with a spoon (there should be 2 cups) and place into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the squash is smooth. Stir in the ricotta, eggs, thyme, and sriracha. Season with salt and pepper.

Make the greens:
While the squash is baking, heat the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven on medium heat. Add the bacon and saute until it has rendered some fat but is still soft, 5 minutes. Add the kale and cover the pot, cook for 5 minutes. Remove the lid, stir, and continue cooking for 10 minutes.

Make the Bechamel Sauce:
While you make the sauce, soak the oven ready noodles in hot water for 30 minutes. Heat milk in a saucepan over medium low heat. Clean out the dutch oven with a paper towel. Over medium heat, melt the butter. When the butter is melted, add in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly, approximately 5 minutes. Add the hot milk, one cup at a time, whisking constantly. Simmer until thick and bubbly, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat, add in the parmesan cheese and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Assemble the lasagna:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add 1/4 of the bechamel sauce to the bottom of a 13×9 inch pain. Add one layer of noodles. Spread half the kale evenly over the noodles. Add another 1/4 bechamel sauce. Top with another layer of noodles and spread half the squash filling over, smoothing with the back of a spoon. Add another layer of noodles. Add the remaining kale and cover with another 1/4 of the bechamel sauce. Top with another layer of noodles and remaining squash. Add on the final layer of noodles. Spread the rest of the bechamel sauce. Sprinkle 1/4 cup parmesan cheese over the top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, remove the foil and rotate the pan, bake another 20 minutes. Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Serious Eats.

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