For Valentine’s Day a few years ago, I tried to make fresh pasta from scratch. Armed only with a floured kitchen island and a wooden rolling pin, I attempted to roll out the pasta. My arms and shoulders ached with the effort as I fought the dough, trying to force it into thin sheets suitable for cutting into noodles. After 20 minutes, I decided it was “good enough.”
I was wrong. The end result was a thick, sticky and undercooked mess. The entire batch ended up in the trash with just enough time before dinner for me to cook up a box of store-bought pasta.
I’ve been yearning for a pasta maker ever since, and when my friends heard this, they offered to lend me their pasta roller KitchenAid attachment.
I started out with something simple– ribbons of eggy pasta tossed with olive oil and chopped tomatoes. Then I went wild, playing with shapes and recipes: fettucine and spaghetti, fresh and dried, plain and flavored and stuffed. So far, that first batch has been my favorite, but this lasagna is a close second.
This recipe takes some time, so it is definitely a weekend dinner recipe. But since it makes so many servings, you'll be enjoying the leftovers for lunches and dinners for several days, cutting back on your cooking time during the wee. Plus, homemade noodles + butternut squash + sage + pork = totally worth it.
- 1 medium butternut squash, 2-3 pounds
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup light cream (half and half or heavy cream works as well)
- 2 cups (16 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese (regular works as well)
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 pound ground pork
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh sage, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 batch homemade lasagna noodles (or 1 box store-bought)
- 1 pound mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Slice the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash, cut-sides down, in a 9"x13" baking pan with a half cup of water. Bake for 45-50 minutes at 375F, or until the squash is soft.
- Allow the squash to cool enough that you can handle it with your bare hands. Scoop the flesh into a food processor and puree the squash with the light cream and ricotta.
- Meanwhile, warm the oil over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and browned, about 6-8 minutes. Add the pork and break it up with a wooden spoon. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the pork is cooked through.
- Mix the pork with the eggs, Parmesan cheese, sage, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper in a medium mixing bowl.
- Boil the lasagna noodles for 3-4 minutes (or according to package instructions for store-bought noodles) and lay out on a lightly oiled cutting board so that the noodles are only slightly touching.
- Grease a 9"x13" baking pan. Spread a thin layer of the butternut squash puree along the bottom, and top with a single layer of lasagna noodles. Spread 1/3 of the squash on top of the noodles, then top with half the sausage. Lay out 1/3 of the mozzarella over the sausage, then top with a layer of noodles. Repeat the puree-sausage-mozzarella-noodle layering once, so that there are three levels of pasta. Spread the remaining butternut squash puree over the noodles, then top with the last of the mozzarella.
- Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake at 375F for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake, uncovered, for an additional 15 minutes. Allow the lasagna to cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Make Ahead and Storage
You can roast and puree the squash with the cream and ricotta up to two days in advance. Refrigerate in an air-tight container until needed. You may also cook the onions and pork two days in advance. When you are ready to make the lasagna, reheat the pork and mix in the eggs, Parmesan, herbs, salt and pepper.