Monday, 9 February 2015

Butternut Squash, Spinach and Mushroom Lasagne

To be honest, I don't know why I cooked this (apart from the fact that it's delicious). It is a faff and a half, and if I tried putting spinach and mushrooms (and in the middle child's case, white sauce) in front of the children, there would be an outcry of "eeeeeewwwww! Vom!"..... which would inevitably end in someone being sent to their room and a big old strop from me. You see, I mind much less if they don't like something that has taken about 5 minutes to put together, but when it has taken an arsenal of kitchen equipment and hours to prep all of the separate components then.... well....

For this reason, I've made the lasagne in two separate, smaller dishes, one of which I've given to a friend. It's a really tasty vegetarian lasagne, a little bit sophisticated and would be a good dish for entertaining. Personally, I preferred it without the goat's cheese, but my husband disagreed. To be honest, I'd rather just grate some cheddar over the top!

I've added a very small amount of dried, crushed chillies when roasting the butternut squash, which works well with the sweetness of the squash and the earthy flavours of the spinach and mushroom.



  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1x 250g box of chestnut mushrooms (or use oyster/shiitake if you are feeling indulgent)
  • 1 x 200g bag of spinach
  • Dried lasagne sheets
  • (Optional) 25g goat's cheese (I used Kidderton Ash, you might prefer something milder), or use grated cheddar
  • 30g butter
  • A pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp olive oil for frying mushrooms
  • 2 tsp dried mixed herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, marjoram and optional crushed chillies)
  • 2-3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
For the tomato sauce:
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes in juice
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, marjoram)
  • 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Ground black pepper to season
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
For the white sauce
  • 40g butter
  • 2 dessert spoons of plain flour
  • Approx. 2/3 - 3/4 pint milk
Serves 4 - 6



(Roasting the butternut squash)
  • Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees fan
  • Slice the butternut squash into quarters lengthways. Place skin-side down on a baking tray, then sprinkle salt, ground pepper and dried mixed herbs over the top. Drizzle with olive oil, then place in the oven and cook for 35 minutes until the squash is softened and browned. Remove from the heat and let cool
Yummy roasted butternut squash

(Making the tomato sauce)
  • Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil very gently in a heavy-based pan, and add the crushed garlic. Let it bubble very gently for a minute or two to infuse the oil - do not let it catch and burn, as this will make the sauce bitter
  • Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, dried mixed herbs, red wine and sugar. Using a sharp knife, pierce the chilli a couple of times so that it doesn't explode. Add the chilli to the pot and give several turns of the pepper mill. Mix well to combine
  • Heat the tomato sauce until it is bubbling, then reduce the heat, put a lid on the pan and simmer for 45 minutes until all of the flavours have infused. When the sauce has cooled down, remove the chilli and discard
(Preparing the spinach and the mushrooms)
  • Rinse the spinach and drain. Heat 30g butter in a heavy-based pan until bubbling. Add the spinach to the pan, then grate over some black pepper and add some salt. Add a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, then stir rapidly until the leaves are just wilted. Remove from the heat
  • Slice the mushrooms finely. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil to a heavy-based pan and heat the oil until it begins to move. Add the mushrooms and a good pinch of black pepper, than stir-rapidly until the mushrooms are coated in oil and slightly browned. Remove from the heat

(Assembling the lasagne)
  • When the butternut squash is cool enough to touch, take a quarter and place it skin-side down onto a chopping board. With a sharp knife, remove the skin from the narrow end, and peel as much as you can away. Don't worry if you can't peel much.
  • With the skin-side on the board, slice the butternut squash into slices 3-4mm thick. Peel the skin away gently with the knife as you cut towards the board.
  • Place a few spoonfuls of the tomato sauce into the base of a baking dish, so that the base is just covered. Arrange slices of butternut squash across the bottom of the dish, then scatter over some sliced mushrooms and spinach. Top with a layer of dried lasagne sheets, then repeat, layering the lasagne as you go. Finish with a layer of lasagne sheets, then spread any remaining tomato sauce over the top

(Making the white sauce)
  • Gently melt 40g butter in a heavy-based pan until it starts to bubble. Add 2 heaped dessert spoons of plain flour, and whisk into the butter. Keep whisking for a minute or two, to allow the flour to cook
  • Add the milk a splash at a time to the pan, whilst whisking continuously. Don't worry that the roux goes solid.... it will loosen eventually! Keep adding the milk and whisking, until the sauce resembles custard in its consistency. I find that a silicone whisk works well at getting rid of any lumps. Add salt and pepper if desired
(Baking the lasagne)
  • Using a ladle, spread the white sauce evenly over the lasagne, until the sheets are completely covered. Dot the top of the lasagne with cubed goat's cheese or grated cheddar and finish with a light dusting of grated parmesan

  • Bake in the oven at 195 degrees for 35 minutes, or until the lasagne is piping hot throughout. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Would be nice with a peppery green salad to cut through the richness

Butternut Squash, Spinach and Mushroom Lasagne

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