We hosted Boxing Day this year and to make life a little simpler I decided to prep and freeze a range of dishes in advance to minimise my time in the kitchen on the day and allow me to enjoy celebrating. With half my family being vegetarians I needed to make some yummy veggie dishes which didn’t involve mushrooms or peppers! I made this Lasagne exactly how I’d make traditional lasagne but substituted the mince beef for roasted butternut squash!
You can easily double the ingredients to make a bigger lasagne or make 2 and freeze one!
500g frozen butternut squash chunks
250g lasagne sheets
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
1 x 500g carton passata
2 large onions
4 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 pack cherry plum tomatoes
2tsp dried oregano
2tsp dried basil
1 tsp sugar
2tbsp tomato puree
Freshly ground pepper
A pinch of salt
100g mature cheddar cheese (grated)
For the white sauce:
500ml whole milk
50g plain flower
200g mature cheese (grated)
1. Roast the frozen butternut squash as per packet instructions. (If you are using fresh chopped butternut squash, roast it until it is soft)
2. While the butternut squash is roasting, chop the onions quite chunky and soften in a large frying pan with a touch of olive oil on a low heat for 10minutes.
3. Add the crushed garlic and fry for a further 3minutes.
4. Add the tinned tomatoes, passata, tomato puree, dried herbs, sugar, salt and pepper.
5. Simmer for about half an hour until you get a lovely rich tomato sauce. About 10mins before the end of the cooking time add the cherry plum tomatoes into the tomato sauce.
*When your butternut squash has roasted take it out of the oven and put to one side*
6. Now it is time to make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a sauce pan and add to the flour. Mix into a paste then continue cooking for a couple of minutes while stirring - this is called a roux.
7. Very slowly add the milk a little at a time, stirring continuously until each addition is combined before adding more until you get a smooth sauce.
8. Add the 200g of grated cheese and stir until melted and combined
9. Now it’s time to assemble your lasagne.
10. Add your roasted butternut squash chunks to your tomato sauce and stir.
11. Take a lasagne dish and put a thin layer of white sauce on the bottom then cover with 1 layer of lasagne pasta sheets
12. Spread half your tomato sauce over the pasta sheets making sure the butternut squash chunks and tomato chunks evenly distributed. Cover with another layer of pasta sheets.
13. Spread a layer of white sauce evenly over the pasta sheets. Cover with another layer of pasta.
14. Put the rest of your tomato sauce over the pasta again making sure the butternut squash is evenly distributed. Cover with a final layer of pasta sheets.
15. Completely cover the top layer of pasta sheets with the remaining white sauce.
16. Sprinkle 100g grated cheese over the top
*Now at this point you can either freeze your lasagne to bake at a later date or bake straight away*
18. To bake - leave the lasagne to rest for a an hour so the sauces soak into the lasagne sheets and make them soft.
19. Pre heat your oven to 180c
20. Place the lasagne dish on a baking tray (the contents may spill over the edge depending how deep your dish is) and cover loosely with foil. Place in the centre of the oven.
19. Bake for 1 hour covered then remove the foil and bake for a further 30minutes.
20. Remove from the oven and test the centre of the lasagne with a knife to check it is hot all the way through. If not put it back in and check at 10min intervals until the centre is hot.
21. Serve with salad! Enjoy!
*Freeze method - wrap the unbaked lasagne well with foil then cling film and freeze. To cook - defrost thoroughly for 24hrs then bake as above.*
Chef’s tip - Add a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach leaves to your tomato sauce just before your assemble your lasagne for an additional taste dimension!
Time saving tip - use a white sauce packet mix instead of making your own. It won’t taste as good but will save some time! Remember to still add the grated cheese to it.
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.