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Lasagna – comforting and delicious, as well as easy to reheat – is a classic drop-off meal for anyone who could use a hand, including new parents. This veggie version gets a boost from superfoods butternut squash and kale. For even more tasty nutrients, throw a mixed green salad in a bag and pack a small jar of dressing to serve on the side.
You can use a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-28 cm) or an 8-inch (20-cm) square baking pan, instead of a baking dish. Whatever you bake it in, just cut the noodles to fit its size and shape. To make it extra easy to serve and store, cut the lasagna into smaller portions.
Featured in: Delicious drop-off dinners for new parents
- 4 cups (about 1½ lb/750 g) peeled, seeded, and cubed butternut squash
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 8 fresh sage leaves
- 1 bunch (about 8 large leaves) kale
- 15 oz (470 g) whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 1 cup (4 oz/125 g) shredded mozzarella cheese, plus 2 tablespoons
- ½ cup (2 oz/60 g) grated pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- ½ lb (250 g) lasagna noodles
- 1 can (14½ oz/455 g) diced tomatoes, drained
Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Line a heavy-duty baking sheet with parchment paper.
Pile the squash on the prepared pan and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread the squash out in a single layer. Tear the sage leaves in half and scatter on top. Roast in the oven until fork-tender, about 25 minutes, stirring once about halfway through. Let the squash cool slightly, and then carefully transfer to a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process to a smooth puree (or, using a potato masher, smash it on the pan or in a bowl until smooth). Set aside.
Lower the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C).
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and place nearby.
While the water is heating, rinse the kale and pat dry with paper towels or spin dry in a salad spinner. Remove and discard any tough stems and cut the leaves into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces. In a large frying pan, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the kale, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, just until the kale begins to wilt, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a bowl, stir together the ricotta, the 1 cup mozzarella, ¼ cup (1 oz/30 g) of the pecorino Romano, and the egg. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Add the lasagna noodles to the boiling water a few at a time, stir once or twice to prevent sticking, and cook until al dente, about 4 minutes. As each batch is finished, using tongs, transfer the noodles to the oiled baking sheet and lay flat.
Coat the bottom and sides of a 2-qt (2-l) baking dish with cooking spray. Spread one-third of the squash puree over the bottom of the dish and top with a single layer of noodles. Top the noodles with half each of the ricotta mixture, the remaining squash puree, the tomatoes, and the kale. Top again with a layer of noodles and then repeat the process with the remaining ricotta mixture, squash puree, and kale (reserve the tomatoes). Place one final layer of noodles on top, scatter the remaining tomatoes over all, and finish with the 2 tablespoons mozzarella and remaining ¼ cup pecorino Romano.
Cover the dish loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese on top is melted and lightly browned and the juices are bubbly, about 10 minutes longer. Let cool slightly before cutting into squares for serving or in half crosswise for two smaller lasagnas.
To pack: Let the lasagna cool and cover tightly. For smaller portions, let cool in the pan completely, then carefully transfer each to a large sheet of aluminum foil and wrap tightly, or transfer to airtight storage containers. The lasagna will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer.
To reheat: Bake in a preheated 350°F (180°C) oven until warmed through and bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes for refrigerated lasagna, or up to an hour for frozen. Individual pieces of room-temperature lasagna can be warmed on a plate for a minute or two in the microwave.
Makes 6 servings
Photos by Thayer Allyson Gowdy