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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Melissa Thompson

Melissa Thompson’s recipe for butternut squash and feta lasagne

Melissa Thompson's squash, red pepper and feta lasagne.
Melissa Thompson’s butternut squash and feta lasagne. Photograph: Yuki Sugiura/The Guardian. Food styling: Aya Nishimura. Prop styling: Louie Waller. Food assistant: Hanna Miller

This delicious lasagne is a twist on my mum’s version, which uses a ricotta milk sauce instead of bechamel. I use feta, though, for a winning combination of that salty, creamy cheese with the sweet peppers. Blitzed roast squash is then mixed into the tomato sauce to give everything a really satisfying base note.

Butternut squash and feta lasagne

Prep 20 min
Cook 1 hr
Serves 6

500g dried lasagne

For the squash sauce
1 butternut squash (about 1kg), halved, deseeded and peeled, flesh chopped into 2½cm pieces
Vegetable oil
1½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp smoked or sweet paprika
1 garlic bulb

1 red onion, peeled and chopped
1 yellow, red or orange pepper, stalk, seeds and pith removed, cut into 1cm dice
1 x 400g tin tomatoes
200ml vegetable stock
375g jarred red peppers
, drained and roughly torn into strips

For the white sauce
500ml whole milk
2 eggs
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
200g feta, broken up into small pieces
50g Italian hard cheese, such as parmesan or grana padano, grated, plus extra for the topping
1 handful picked flat-leaf parsley
, chopped

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Put the chopped squash and a tablespoon of oil on a large baking tray, season with the salt, pepper and paprika, and toss to coat. Cut off and discard the root end of the garlic bulb, rub it all over in oil, then wrap in foil and add to the tray. Roast the squash for 30 minutes, until soft, giving it all a toss halfway through.

In the meantime, sweat the chopped onion and pepper in a little oil for 10 minutes, add the tomatoes, cook for five minutes more, then add half the stock.

Put the milk, eggs, garlic, feta, hard cheese and a teaspoon of ground black pepper in a large bowl, beat to combine, then stir through the parsley.

When the squash is cooked, tip it into a bowl. Unwrap the garlic, and squeeze the flesh from the cloves into the bowl. Pour in the remaining stock, blitz smooth with a stick blender or in a food processor, then stir into the tomato pan.

Cover the base of a large ovenproof dish with a layer of lasagne sheets, trying not to overlap them, then break off smaller pieces of pasta to fill in any gaps at the edges. Spoon in a ladleful of the squash mixture and spread it over the top so it covers the pasta. Top with some of the white sauce, and dot strips of the jarred red pepper all over the top. Repeat the layering until the dish is full, finishing with a thin layer of the squash sauce and a drizzle of white sauce. Scatter over a layer of grated hard cheese, then bake for 40 minutes. Turn up the heat to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6 for a final five minutes, to brown the top, then remove and leave to rest for 10 minutes, to give the juices time to settle, otherwise they’ll leak out when you cut it. Portion and serve on its own or with a simple green salad.

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