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Winter Comfort: Lazy Lasagna with Butternut Squash and Escarole

Serves 6

This dish can double as a vegetarian dish with two veggies and three cheeses or as a hearty meal for all.


  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling, plus 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound ruffle-edge lasagna noodles, broken into irregular shapes
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium head escarole, chopped
  • About 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
  • A small handful of sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (a couple of handfuls)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 1/3 pound Italian Fontina or Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Arrange the squash on a baking sheet and lightly dress with a drizzle of EVOO, salt and pepper. Roast for 35-45 minutes, until golden at the edges and tender.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and under-cook the pasta by about 2 minutes, a little shy of al dente.
  4. While the water comes to a boil, heat about 2 tablespoons EVOO, a couple of turns of the pan, over medium heat in sauté pan. Add the garlic and stir for a minute, then add the escarole and wilt. Season with a little salt and pepper and add the stock; simmer gently until ready to use.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together the ricotta with the sage, salt, pepper and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
  6. In a saucepot, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, cook for a minute or so, then whisk in the milk. Raise the heat a bit and season the sauce with salt, pepper and a little freshly grated nutmeg. Let the sauce thicken to coat the back of a spoon, then taste to adjust the seasonings.
  7. Drain the lasagna noodles and add them back to hot pot. Stir in the ricotta cheese mixture and combine evenly. Fold in the roasted squash and escarole. Transfer to a casserole dish and pour the milk sauce evenly over the top. Cover with scant layer of Italian Fontina or Gruyère cheese and place in the hot oven on the center rack.
  8. Switch the oven to broil and leave the casserole in the oven until the lasagna is brown and bubbly all over, about 4 minutes.