Vegetarian lasagne with winter squash & nutmeg

This veggie lasagne has the same amount of comfort food boxes ticked as any other lasagne would, with slow roasted butternut in all of its caramelised glory, a super flavourful white sauce and a cheesy crust that makes those great bubbly and burnt bits around the edge of the dish – perfect for post-meal pickings.
Homemade pasta is seriously easy to make and you can taste the difference, but you’ll need the great tool of a pasta machine to achieve it. It’s really easy to do, once you start the process, and it is a fun opportunity to get the whole family involved in the kitchen. If you’d rather buy the pasta, just remember to blanch it for a little longer to ‘al dente’ and then layer the pasta, as in the method.

Ingredients:

Serves: 6–8 | Prep: 1 hour | Cook: 1 hour 35 minutes

For the filling
2 butternut squash, peeled and cut into ¾ inch chunks
1 tsp chilli flakes
300 g punnet mushrooms, halved
1 bunch kale, leaves torn
1 bunch basil
2 tins chopped tomatoes
2 tsp sugar
100 g pine nuts or macadamia nuts, toasted
For the white sauce
1 ½ litres whole milk
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, peeled and sliced
Sprig of thyme
Sprig of curly leaf parsley
6 peppercorns
120 g butter
120 g flour
100 g parmesan cheese, grated
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
For the pasta
4 medium sized eggs
400 g flour

Method:

For the pasta
1. Place the flour in a bowl or on a large board.
2. Mix in the eggs to form a dough – mix well until smooth.
3. Knead the dough in a kitchen aid or by hand for 5 –10 minutes.
4. Cover the dough in clingfilm.
5. Roll pieces of the dough through the pasta maker – starting with pieces going through number one a couple of times, and then a couple of times on each other number, and finally stopping at number five.
6. Cut sheets of pasta into lasagne and leave to dry slightly.
For the butternut
1. Preheat the oven to 200° C.
2. Place the butternut on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Sprinkle the chilli flakes over the butternut.
4. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until slightly charred and cooked through.
5. Remove from the oven and top with the kale pieces, drizzle with olive oil, and return to the oven for 5–10 minutes for the kale to cook down.
6. Remove and allow to cool slightly.
7. In a frying pan, fry the mushrooms with a few glugs of olive oil, until softened.
8. Remove from the heat and mix in a large bowl with the butternut, tinned tomatoes, basil and nuts.
For the sauce
1. Place the milk in a large saucepan and add the carrots, onion, thyme, parsley and peppercorns.
2. Bring to a light simmer, then remove from the heat and allow the flavours to infuse for 10 minutes, then pour through a sieve and into a jug to discard the bits.
3. In another saucepan, heat the butter until it melts and stir through the flour.
4. Slowly add the milk, whisking continuously, until the sauce has thickened.
5. Allow the sauce to cook on a low heat for a few minutes.
6. Season with salt and pepper and nutmeg.
7. Remove from the heat.
To layer the pasta
1. Blanche the pasta sheets for 1 minute in boiling water, remove and plunge into cold water to stop the cooking process.
2. Place the butternut and kale mixture onto the base of a lasagne dish, then pour over ¼ of the white sauce and place a few slices of pasta on top, followed by a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
3. Repeat and finish with the other ¾ of the white sauce, then top the dish with parmesan.
4. Place in the oven for 35–45 minutes, until heated through.
Serve immediately with a light green salad.
This is an ideal dish to serve up if you have vegetarians coming over for dinner. No meat eater is going to mind tucking into this heartwarming, cheesy dish of comfort and toasted hazelnuts.
Want more recipes like these? You know where to find them.