This isn’t your traditional lasagna, but oh good heavens, the flavors of pork, butternut squash, browned butter, sage, and cheese is pure comfort! Browned butter pork and butternut squash lasagna is about to be your new favorite lasagna recipe!
You won’t find tomatoes, ricotta cheese or tomato sauce in this lasagna, but it is bringing all the feelings of warm winter comfort food to our family! The flavors are the most amazing combination! I mean it’s got pork, one of my all time favorite meats, browned butter-pure heaven, carbs-who doesn’t love carbs, and melty, gooey, delicious cheese. BOO-YAH!
I love comfort food more than anything else. Sure smoked pulled pork is stinking delicious, and Hawaiian Pulled Pork is absolutely mouth watering, but make me choose between one of those recipes and a comfort food like Browned Butter Butternut and Pork Lasagna and hands down the lasagna wins.
Creating Butternut Squash Lasagna
As soon as I got the email from the National Pork Board to create a few recipes for them I knew I’d say yes to working with them, but then they wanted comfort recipes?! Heck yeah I’m on board with that. And this lasagna was born. And we loved it. And now you will too.
I was looking through the recipe section on the Pork Be Inspired site and man, everything looks so juicy and delicious! I’ve found many a wonderful recipe there, but I was actually trying to make sure that there wasn’t a recipe like this one, which there isn’t. Butternut squash actually smells comforting. It’s so warm, nutty, and creamy. I just knew that a combination of my favorite fall/winter flavor with pork was totally the way to go. Oh, and there’s a secret in the puree, Ginger Snap cookies. Trust me, it’s exactly what the puree needs.
Ingredients for Butternut Squash Lasagna
I’m going to divide this recipe into 3 different parts – the butternut squash, the browned butter sauce (béchamel sauce) and the lasagna layers.
For the Squash
- Butternut Squash: peeled and chopped, ready for roasting
- Olive Oil: helps roast and caramelize the squash
- Salt & Black Pepper: adds flavor
- Sage: you’ll want fresh sage and we will use it to add flavor to the butternut squash puree
- Ginger Snap Cookies: an unexcepted ingredient but the flavor it adds it crucial
For the Browned Butter Sauce
- Butter: browned for added flavor and creates the base for the béchamel
- Garlic: adds flavor and can be increased or decreased to your liking
- Flour: combined with the butter is creates the creamy base for the béchamel
- Low Fat Milk: helps thin out the sauce
- Half and Half: adds creaminess and richness
- Nutmeg: adds flavor and warmth
- Salt and Black Pepper: adds flavor
For the Lasagna
- Ground Pork: we like to cook it and leave it in larger bite size chunks rather than breaking it up to crumbles
- No Boil Lasagna Noodles: can totally be swapped for uncooked noodles but I love the ease of the no boil noodles
- Cheese: gruyere, mozzarella and parmesan
- Fresh Parsley: for an extra pop of freshness on the top
The measurements for all the ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post. This is just meant to be an overview of the ingredients you’ll need.
How to Make Butternut Squash Pork Lasagna
I’m going to walk you through each step of this lasagna so you can see how easy it is! We will start by roasting the butternut squash, then cooking the pork, followed by making the browned butter sauce and finally assembling all the layers…
For the Squash
- Preheat the oven, peel and cube the squash, then place it on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the squash with a little olive oil and salt and pepper and toss to coat.
- Roast until tender and allow to cool.
- Place the roasted squash, sage and ginger snaps into a blender and pulse until smooth.
For the Pork
- Brown the pork in a skillet over medium high heat. Break it up slightly so that bite size chunks remain. Allow it to cook through then remove from the pan to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
For the Sauce
- Brown the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Once it starts to turn amber in color, add the garlic.
- Cook for a few seconds and then add the flour whisking quickly. Cook until nutty and golden.
- Add all the liquids and nutmeg and whisk until smooth.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until thickened.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Preheat the oven.
- Start with the butternut squash puree and spread a thin layer in the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish.
- Then do a layer of lasagna noodles.
- Spread a thin layer of béchamel sauce on the pasta, followed by a layer of sausage.
- Top the sausage with a layer of gruyere and mozzarella cheese.
- Add a layer of pasta and then a layer of butternut squash puree, then sausage, then cheese.
- Repeat these layers until everything is gone making sure the top layer is cheese. Then sprinkle the parmesan cheese all over the top and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.
- Place the baking dish in the oven and bake until golden and bubbly.
- Let it sit for a few minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
All of these instructions are listed in full detail in the recipe card at the end of this post.
What is Browned Butter?
Brown butter is a simple one-ingredient sauce that can transform all kinds of recipes.
It is made by melting butter in a sauce pan until it boils.
Then reduce the heat and stir occasionally until the butter is brown and has a nutty aroma.
What Can You Substitute for Butternut Squash?
You can use any winter squash, including buttercup, hubbard, sugar pumpkin, and acorn as a substitute for butternut squash.
How to Cut Butternut Squash
Cutting the butternut is probably the hardest part of this recipe. They are such a hard squash that they can be tricky to peel and cut sometimes. Be sure you have a sharp knife and a good vegetable peeler.
Cut off both ends of the squash, and then slice the squash in half. I like to cut off the bulb end of squash and then cut both sections in half. Remove the seeds from the bulb end with a spoon and scrap the inside clean. Then peel the skin off all the pieces of the squash. Butternut squash has thick skin. I like place the pieces flesh side down and then remove the skin with a sharp vegetable peeler. Then cube the squash into bite size pieces.
Tricks for Cooking Lasagna Noodles
My trick is that I don’t…haha! I use the no boil pasta to keep things easy. If you want to boil your own lasagna noodles, be sure to use a very large pot so the noodles aren’t overcrowded. Fill the pot about 2/3 full of water and bring the water to a boil. Add salt and olive oil to the water. Once the water is boiling, slide the noodles in. Cook them per the instructions on the box and pull the noodles out of the water 2 to 3 minutes early. They will finish cooking when the lasagna bakes.
Is Butternut Squash High in Protein?
According to the USDA, one cup of cooked butternut squash is about 80 calories and 1.8 grams of protein. So it is not super high in protein, but it is high in fiber and is a great source of vitamins A and C.
What to Eat with Butternut Squash Lasagna
In my opinion, lasagna should always be served with fresh baked garlic bread! I know, hello carbs! But garlic bread with lasagna is just so dang good! I also like to serve a lighter side with it like a green salad or some sauteed green beans.
This lasagna recipe is a great make ahead recipe. You could full assemble the whole lasagna up to a day ahead of time and then bake before serving.
Leftover lasagna should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It can be reheated in the oven or in the microwave.
This dish also freeze very well. It can be frozen before or after baking. Be sure to place it in an airtight container and wrap it securely in plastic wrap and then foil. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or bake it from frozen. You’ll just have to add some baking time if you bake from frozen.
Lasagna recipes always bring comfort, and this browned butter pork and butternut squash lasagna is our new favorite comfort food recipe!
More Cozy Dinner Ideas
It’s got pork, one of my all time favorite meats, browned butter-pure heaven, carbs-who doesn’t love carbs, and melty, gooey, delicious cheese.
Prevent your screen from going dark
For the Squash
Heat the oven to 425, and place the squash on a large pan and drizzle with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.
1 1/2 Lbs Butternut Squash, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper
Roast for 25 minutes or until tender.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Place the squash, sage and ginger snaps in the blender and pulse until smooth.
2 Leaves of Sage, 2 Ginger Snap Cookies
For the Pork
Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add the ground pork.
1 pound Ground Pork
Turn down to medium and allow the pork to cook through, breaking it up into small meatball portions. This allows a little more pork flavor in the dish instead of small crumbles of meat throughout.
Cook about 6-8 minutes or until cooked through and remove from the pan to drain.
For the Sauce
Meanwhile, heat a sauce pan over medium heat and add the butter.
1/4 Cup Butter
Cook until the butter begins to foam and turn nutty brown in color, whisking occasionally, and then as soon as it’s amber in color, throw in the garlic.
3 Cloves Garlic
Cook for a few seconds and then add the flour and quickly whisk.
1/4 Cup Flour
Continue to cook until nutty in flavor and golden.
Pour in the liquids and nutmeg and continue to whisk until smooth.
2 Cups Low Fat Milk, 1 1/2 Cups Half and Half, 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer, continue to cook until thickened.
Salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Spread about ¼ cup pf the butternut squash puree on the bottom of an 8×8” pan.
Lay down strips of lasagna noodles.
1 package No Boil Lasagna Noodles
Add a scoop, about 1/3 – 1/2 cup, of white sauce and lightly spread over the noodles.
Dot with pork and sprinkle with ¼ cup of gruyere and mozzarella cheese.
2 Cups Gruyere Cheese, 2 1/2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese
Add a layer of noodles then add 1/3 Cup butternut squash puree and spread over the sauce. Dot with pork, then top with the cheeses.
Continue with layers until you reach the top and then add all remaining cheeses, ending with the parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the parsley over the top.
1/4-1/3 Cups Parmesan Cheese, Fresh Parsley
Bake the lasagna for 35-40 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
May be frozen for several months.