Another plus is that it is a vegetarian recipe that is rich and flavorful enough for the omnivores in the group. It can be easily adapted to a vegan meal as well which would also be good for those who are lactose intolerant. So it is really versatile for guests with differing food needs.
3 cups or so butternut puree from 2 small or 1 large squash*
8 oz ricotta cheese,
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg, 1 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, salt and pepper
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
½ cup half and half
2-2 ½ cups milk ( may need a bit more)- or use all milk, about 2 ½ -3 cups( not skim!)
Salt & pepper
1 cup swiss cheese, shredded
1 cup mozzarella or Italian blend cheese, shredded( may skip or use less)
9-12 no-boil lasagna noodles( You may use boiled lasagna noodles, but use less milk)
Butter for pan
*You may wash and cut squash in half or quarters, remove seeds and place cut side down in baking pan (foiled lined makes clean up easier) that is brushed with olive oil and/or has a couple TBSPN water in the pan. Roast on 350 for about 45-50 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven and carefully turn squash pieces over to cool.
Another method is to peel,cut into large chunks and roast for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice .
Once butternut is prepared and pureed, mix in 8 oz ricotta cheese and seasonings. Set aside while preparing sauce.
In a large skillet or sauce pan, heat ¼ cup butter and when melted add ¼ cup flour and whisk or stir for a minute or two until texture is sandy and begins to get a little golden. Slowly whisk in ½ cup half and half, if using, and 2 – 2 ½ cups milk and bring almost to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium -low and simmer for about 5 minutes allowing sauce to thicken. If too thick, add a bit of milk or ½ and ½ . While it cooks, add Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, nutmeg, salt & pepper to taste. Remove from heat and fold in 2/3 cup Swiss cheese, 2/3 cup mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
Lightly Butter 9x13 baking dish and scoop a bit of sauce in the bottom. Layer three- three & a half noodles across pan. Spread a layer of butternut mixture (about 1/3 of the mixture) and drizzle with a bit of sauce. Repeat this until dish is full or you are out of butternut squash. Top with remaining sauce, making sure edges are covered. Cover with foil. I usually make this a few hours ahead to let it sit and soak up the flavors.