This Lasagna was the result of looking in the fridge and freezer and trying to figure out what I could make for dinner with the ingredients I had. There are a lot of flavors here: squash, pesto, sausage, eggplant, sage, parmesan. It's not for the faint palated or unadventurous eater.
While it's not perfect and I may do some tweaking on it down the road (I'm not sure how I feel about the eggplant in it yet!), it was yummy, comforting and something different for dinner. True lasagna fans will probably want to use more cheese. I felt that since my sauce was creamy, I didn't really need much of it. Here I used frozen butternut squash despite it being in season fresh where I live but that's only because I needed to use it before it got freezer burn! Fresh butternut squash would be absolutely delicious here. I would boil it or roast it in small pieces if I substituted it for the frozen.
9 Lasagna noodles, cooked
1 bag of frozen butternut squash, defrosted
1 lb hot italian style chicken sausage, casings removed
1 large vidalia onion, diced
2 lrg garlic cloves
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
6 tablespoons homemade pesto (or a store bought pesto that you really like)
1 1/4 cups milk, heated in the microwave for 1 minute
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2.5 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 medium sized eggplant, sliced 3/4 in thick (6-8 slices
kosher salt and black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a 4qt sauce pan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan when hot and cook onion and garlic until the onion is translucent. Remove onion and garlic and add sausage to pan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you cook. When sausage is cooked, add onion and garlic back to pan and stir in defrosted butternut squash, sage and kosher salt and pepper. Stir and cook until blended. Stir in 2 tablespoons of pesto. Set aside.
Next, melt butter in a saucepan and then whisk in the flour, stirring constantly until the flour and butter are well mixed and begin to brown (about 5 minutes). Slowly pour in the warm milk and bring to a boil while stirring. Simmer until the sauce begins to thicken. Add 3 tablespoons of the pesto and 1/2 the parmesan cheese and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
While you are making the sauce, lay eggplant slices on a cookie sheet that has been covered with foil and baste on both sides with 1 tablespoon pesto mixed with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place in oven and cook for 13-15 minutes or until tender. Lower the oven heat to 375.In a rectangular baking dish (9x13 or so), layer the lasagna, starting with a tiny bit of the sausage squash concoction, then noodles, then 1/3 of the pesto cream sauce, then all the eggplant slices (cut in half if they are large), then more noodles, sausage squash mixture, 1/3 of the pesto cream sauce, noodles, last of the sausage squash, last of the pesto cream sauce and then top with 1/4 cup of grated parmesan. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and then turn on the broiler. Broil until the cheese is browned (2-3 minutes). Let set for 10 minutes before slicing.All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley