Date Night Lasagna

Is there anything better than, after a lovely day at work, coming home on a chilly rainy day, and making amazing comfort food to share with your husband?  For date night last night, I cooked, while Hubs worked, then, we popped a lovely bottle of red, watched Julie & Julia, and ate this amazing lasagna.  It was also lovely for lunch leftovers today.

  • 5 Tbs Butter, divided
  • 2 large shallots, diced
  • 1/2 lb white mushrooms, washed, destemmed and sliced
  • 1 lb Chicken sausage (out of casing), bonus points for sausage w/ sage
  • 1/4 C water
  • 3 Tbs flour
  • 1 1/2 C half and half
  • 1 C ricotta
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • pinch of cardamom
  • Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 box no-bake lasagna noodles
  • 1 butternut squash, roasted & pureed
  • 1/3 C chopped fresh sage
  • 6 oz. Romano Cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

First,  peel, quarter, and de-seed the butternut squash.  Brush each quarter with butter, and place on a foil-lined cookie sheet.  Shove this in the oven and let it roast for about 30 minutes.  Watch that it doesn't burn. You can also sprinkle with sea salt and pepper here if you like. I like lots of salt, and maybe you do too.  Add salt and pepper whenever moved while making this recipe.

Then, in a stainless steel saute pan, melt 2 Tbs of butter over medium heat.  Add the shallots and saute for 3 minutes.  Toss in the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes.  Remove from the pan, and set aside.

Return the pan to the heat, and brown the ground sausage.  Once it's finished, remove from the pan, and set aside.

Bring the pan back to a medium-high heat and add water.  Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bits from the sausage off the bottom.  Allow the water to simmer, and almost evaporate.

Add the rest of the butter to the pan.  Once it's melted, sprinkle in the flour and whisk, until the flour fully dissolves.  Add the half and half and whisk this too.  Add the shallots mix, and stir until the sauce simmers.  Then stir in the ricotta and all of the spices.  I don't measure spices, so feel free to kick it up a notch if you like.

By now your squash should be roasted.  Turn the heat down to 350, then toss this baby into the food processor and puree.  If you don't have one, mash it up as much as you possibly can.

Now comes the layering.

Grease a 9x13 baking dish (ours was from Groomsman Joe.  Thanks!).

  • Cover with a thin layer of the cream sauce, then lay down the noodles on top.
  • Spread half of the butternut squash puree evenly over the pasta, then sprinkle on 1/3 of the sage.
  • Pour all of the ground sausage on next.  Sprinkle the Romano on top of this, then spread on another layer of cream sauce.
  • Add the rest of the butternut squash, 1/3 of the sage, Romano, and then more noodles.
  • Pour on the rest of the cream sauce.  Sprinkle with more Romano and sage.

Cover the dish with foil and bake covered for 25 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the cheese browns.  Allow the lasagna to cool for 5-10 minutes, while you select an on-demand flick.  Then open wine and serve the lasagna with a lovely salad, and be happy you decided to make it a date night.