Butternut Squash Lasagna

Cook's Note: The no-boil lasagna noodles can be substituted with fresh spinach lasagna sheets. Look for fresh lasagna sheets in the refrigerated[ section of specialty markets.]

Total Time:
2 hr 10 min
30 min
15 min
1 hr 25 min

8 to 10 servings


Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the skillet and then cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and then transfer the squash to a food processor. Add the amaretti cookies and blend until smooth. Season the squash puree, to taste, with more salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg. Cool slightly. Transfer half of the sauce to a blender*. Add the basil and blend until smooth. Return the basil sauce to the sauce in the pan and stir to blend. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/3 of the squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup of sauce over the noodles. Repeat layering 3 more times.

Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the lasagna. Continue baking uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 15 minutes longer. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.

*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

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Pairs Well With

Rich, buttery white wine

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    418 Reviews
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    Fantastic recipe. First time I made it came out a little too sweet. Used shortbread cookies the second time and added more salt and pepper as well as a box of frozen spinach. Took it to a friend's house after she had a baby and her family raved about it. This will be a go-to recipe. It does take a while to prepare but it's worth it. And you can make it 24 hours in advance (all the way up to putting it in the oven), keep it in the fridge, and then bake it the next day and it turns out great.
    I really liked this recipe. I remember seeing the episode a long time ago, but I never had a chance to make it. I didn't have the basil, so I used parsley and it turned out great. I was really proud of myself since I've never made bechamel sauce before. It was a really fun experience.
    I love this recipe, but make a couple of adjustments. I skip the cookies b/c I don't like the sweetness. I roast the squash (a little larger than called for) and puree with a bit of fresh sage or other fresh herbs on hand. Next, I break down and steam a head of cauliflower and puree it with a large bunch of spinach and all the basil. Then, i follow the recipe but with the following 3 layers: 1/2 the squash, the spinach/cauliflower mix, and the last 1/2 squash. Comes out the perfect consistency. Even if you don't like a lot of veg, the caulifower and spinach are not at all overpowering; they just add another creamy element. Great way to add more veg!! By adding the basil to that mix, I don't have to mess with blending the bechamel - so much easier! This freezes and reheats like a dream.
    Added two shreaded chicken breasts for a little extra hardyness. A family favoirte.
    This has become a staple at family Thanksgivings. Like another reviewer noticed, the squash had to be spread pretty thin for a 9X13 pan, and the lasagna ended up pretty dry as a result. My fix - I make it in a 9X9 pan with the same amount of squash, cheeses and sauce. Leaves a bit of sauce left over, but the texture and proportions are perfect!
    Looks delicious. Can this recipe be made in advance?
    Yes!! I roast and puree the squash and make the sauce a couple of days beforehand, then assemble the night before. Bakes up perfectly every time!
    Absolutely DELICIOUS! The flavors are unique and memorable! Great to serve for a crowd. Keep this one!
    This was delicious. I followed the recipe pretty closely but added a couple extra amaretti cookes (as the ones I bought at World Market were very small and I was unsure of the size of cookies she used). I also added a little Italian sausage, which added a little salt and kick to complement the sweetness of the squash puree.
    I had a hard time finding these cookies. Went with some almond biscotti I found at Trader Joes. They work fine and have a wonderful taste.
    This is one of my favorite recipes!! I use rice milk which makes it a little sweeter.
    Very good! My carnivore husband actually felt it didn't need any meat but I thought some sweet Italian sausage might be a yummy addition. I had some grated Parmesan on hand so I added it to the sauce, good decision!
    I now have made this recipe many many times. It truely is delicous. I have cooked exactly as the recipe calls for but have changed a couple of things after trying. I use regualar lasagna noodles and not the no boil as we like a bit more of a bite. Also I have tried roasting the squash but I prefer the boil or simmered as it is easier to spread. Let me think what else. I have used this recipe to make pizza with and WOW is it yummy! I also have frozen the leftovers and they turned out perfect. Thanks for the wonderful recipe Giada!!!
    Even people that don't like squash would like this. Absolutely a 5 star!!!!
    Great vegetarian lasagna! A little sweeter than I wanted but that can be easily adjusted. I used the regular boil first noodles ( I just I just never trusted no boil ones! and the recipe still turned out great. Also it is quite a bit of prep work to do alone - would be nice to have an extra hand with this dish. Would make again!
    It was a hit among my vegeterian friends.My hubby, who is a picky vegetable eater did not like it much though.
    No one in my family cared for this. I ended up throwing most of it away. Will not be making this again.
    This was really yummy. I would definitely make this again. I liked it better than traditional lasagne, but other people in my household who are more meat/potatoes type people didn't necessarily agree. I had a tough time finding the amaretto cookies, so I used some lemon and almond cookies instead. I also added a little apple/peach wine. Next time, I may try some amaretto creamer in place of some of the milk or just use some real amaretto. Or I'll read what other people substituted for those cookies. Do try this one. If you hate cutting through those stubborn squash like I do, just use two packages of the butternut squash cube packages in the produce section at Walmart.
    This lasagna is to die for!!! I usually wind up omitting an ingredient or two as my family is very picky, however followed this one to a tee and it came out came out moist with subtle flavors of the squash, bechamel and cheeses. A total win win! There was this sweet/salty thing going on with it that absolutely knocked my socks off. Two things I would note: First, don't worry if you dislike amaretti cookies because you won't get that sweet almondy flavor but rather an almost butterscotch taste which really brings out the squash flavor. Second, the white sauce does look to be extremely runny with that much milk to flour ratio and I was immediately worried the lasagna would be runny, however it turned out perfect and kept the lasagna super moist (even cold which is hard to accomplish with lasagna. Follow the recipe exactly and you won't be disappointed, even the direction to bake it in a glass baking dish. You will LOVE this recipe.
    I was disappointed. There wasn't enough squash puree (the squash's starting weight was 1.5 poundsand there was way too much white sauce. I followed the recipe (except used Nilla wafer cookies. If I ever try it again, I would use a much bigger squash so I get more of the puree. Love the butternut squash puree, however.
    I love this recipe! To simplify my life I've been buying fresh butternut squash ravioli from Trader Joes (I've also seen it at Costco and layering it with the sauce from this recipe. Its awesome because the ingredients in the ravioli are almost identical to what the recipe calls for and it saves a lot of prep time. A tip that takes this recipe over the top is to add pine nuts at the end and let them roast and crisp up. The crunchiness is totally delish!
    I adore this recipe. Comes out fantastic every time! The following are modifications that I have made and have been extremely happy with: 
    -Used shortbread cookies (or pecan sandies with 1/4 tsp almond extract instead of amaretti cookies. 
    -I used about 5 ounces of pesto plus a cup of fresh parm in the sauce instead of fresh basil 
    -Roasted the butternut squash instead of boiling. Also added a little bit of sage, thyme, and nutmeg o the butternut squash mixture. 
    This lasagna can be quite the process but it is absolutely worth it and you can easily make most of it in advance.
    Making this recipe in the morning. When did you add the Pesto?
    I?ve made this twice - 1st time followed the recipe, but it was a little bland so this time I added a few minor modifications. First, I had to used acorn squash this time, but both times I roasted in the oven - 400 degrees, cut in half and de-seed, place upside down in pan with some water for 30 min. Then flip over, salt, pepper, add garlic powder, butter, and bake 5-10 more minutes. I also roasted 2 smashed garlic cloves with it, and pureed it with the squash - yum!! For the béchamel, I used both basil and sage - sage goes great with squash. I also added more nutmeg for flavor. Finally, for the last 15 cooking minutes, I toasted the seeds with the lasagna in the oven - just rinse and dry, toss with olive oil and salt, and spread out on a pan lined with parchment paper. I sprinkled them on top the lasagna to add a great and delicious texture!
    Excellent recipe! I have made this several times and everyone LOVES it. The only addition I made the last time was to add some frozen cooked chopped spinach (thawed and very well squeezed of liquid. The spinach cut the richness of the recipe and I think it made it better plus it added a little color as well. This is a new family favorite. Giada ROCKS!!
    I brought this lasagna last night to our annual condo association holiday party, and it was the first thing to go! Everyone wanted the recipe. To make prep easier on the day of, I made the butternut squash and the basil sauce the night before, and then all I had to do was assemble the dish and throw it in the oven before the party. Delicious!
    Just put this in the over, excited to try it! But I only got about half of what I should have. I am not sure why. Hopefully it still turns out yummy
    My family would never allow Thanksgiving without this dish! Perfect for the vegetarians in the group too. Some hints... DEFINITELY buy the cut up butternut squash - if you buy the frozen kind, make sure to let it thaw completely so you arent adding the extra liquid - but the cubed portions in the produce section are worth the extra money. Make ALL of the components early, then just put together when you are ready to bake!!
    Amazing recipe! First time reviewing a recipe in my life. I will do it again - double the recipe and freeze it for weeknights. I did add a layer of sauteed mushroom as some other reviewers mentioned and it added nice texture to the dish. 
    The only downfall was that it took me over an hour just to cut the squashes in litlle cubes.
    It was amazing! I sauteed some mushrooms and served them over the top (copied the idea from a restaurant. Fantastic combination. My daughter is a fan of butternut squash in any form, and this was a big hit with her. Will prepare many more times over the Fall/Winter. Cannot wait to make for friends!
    This is absolutely awesome. My husband, who hates squash, only had one complaint... that it tasted like dessert - not bad, huh? My daughter loves it so much that I'm making another one tonight. It was easy to freeze the left-overs in portion sizes, which she takes back to school to thaw and reheat. Even reheated, she was in love with it. Thanks, Giada, for yet another great recipe!
    This review has 4 personalities, no joke! Sista got issues, can I get an Amen? or, can I get an A-Henn? Lila age 7 ate 3 pieces. "Uhm if I was not as tired as I was at the time I would of ate 7 pieces, it was GREAT!." Ella ate 10 pieces (not really ate just 1 piece, age 10 and soon to be 11, like you are not even hearing me her birthday is like very soon....like after Breaking Dawn part 2 release soon, just saying.. 'read in a British accent' "I thought it was very filling & very good, the sweet butternut squash combination mixed with the basily goodness of the sauce thing...made a sweet savory meal. I thought it had a very distinct flavor burst that I loved!" Annette ate 3 pieces (what? I'm a porker ya'll better not be laughing! All sista gotta say is that it was good stuff! My normal side of my MPD what, you don't know what MPD is? Well let me tell you! Multiple Personality Disorder... yup. "What about a chicken?"  
    Okeeeee Dokeeee...I'll have what she's smoking
    This wasn't difficult to make,especially using pre-cut squash. However I think it needs something to cut the sweetness of the squash and add texture. Maybe next time I will fry up some crumbled italian sausage with diced onions and add a layer of that with some mozzerella on top. Or even a layer of chopped mushrooms cooked with some garlic,grated cheese and a little breadcrumbs. I think a layer of this in the middle of the lasagna would complement the rest of the ingredients.
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