Pasta Free Butternut Squash and Beef Lasagne

Having some lean beef mince and a butternut squash to be used, I decided to create this pasta-free lasagne recipe. It’s also my WordPress anniversary today, hurray! So I gift you all this lovely creation as a celebration 🙂

Packed full of flavour, this lasagne is layered with slices of butternut squash between a mince sauce packed with sage, a deliciously cheesy and creamy white sauce speckled with nutmeg, and a sprinkling of pine nuts to finish.

This started off as a bit of a “let’s hope this works!” but turned out amazingly! I hope you enjoy it…

Ingredients (serves 4-5)

  • 1 medium to large butternut squash
  • Pine nuts (two handfuls)

Mince sauce:

  • 1 x 400g pack of lean beef mince
  • 1 x tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 x red onions
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic (depending on how big your cloves are and how garlicky you like it!)
  • 2 x tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 1 x glass of red wine
  • 2-3 tps of dried sage, or a small bunch of chopped fresh sage
  • Salt and pepper

White sauce:

  • 85g butter
  • 85g plain flour
  • 750ml semi-skimmed milk
  • Grated cheddar cheese, a couple of big handfuls
  • 1 heaped tsp grated nutmeg

Method:

The first big job to do is tackle the peeling of the butternut squash! I find it easiest to cut in half first before peeling or simply cutting off the skins with a sharp knife. Once all the skin is removed, cut into thin slices.

Pasta Free Lasagne

After this it’s time to make the mince sauce. Brown off the mince in a large saucepan and then add the chopped garlic and onions to give them a bit of colour, and then add the red wine, tomatoes, tomato puree and let it simmer away and reduce for about 10-15 minutes. Add the seasoning and the sage to taste, simmer for a few more minutes before taking off the heat and setting to one side.

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Now you can make your lovely cheesy white sauce infused with nutmeg! Gently melt the butter in a pan and once melted whisk in the flour, then once combined, slowly pour in the milk whilst constantly whisking to get rid of any lumps. Keep whisking until you feel it thicken to a good consistency, then add the cheese and nutmeg and whisk until fully combined. Take off the heat.

It’s now my favourite (and definitely the most fun!) part, it’s layering time!

Pasta Free Lasagne (two pics)

 

Get a nice big dish, I opted for a nice heart shaped one, and start your layers! Firstly a layer of the mince sauce, followed by the butternut squash and topped with the cheesy white sauce. Repeat until you run out, ending with a white sauce layer. Top this final layer with some more grated cheese and the pine nuts for a lovely finish!

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Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees celsius for 40-50 minutes until bubbling and browned on top, then dig in! 😀

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Lasagna Pie Time

This food monstrosity isn’t one for the waistlines, but it fills a gap that is hard to match!

Ingredients:

For the pasta: 300g OO pasta flour and 3 eggs.

For the fillings: Your choice but we recommend pesto (homemade for us – see recipes for how to), salami/chorizo, ricotta/cheese, white sauce, bolognese…

Preparation

Preparation

Method:

Make the pasta first as it needs at least 30 mins in the fridge to cool before being rolled. Make a well out of the OO flour, and crack the eggs into the middle. Get your fingers in and slowly start working the egg in a circle, incorporating the flour bit by bit.

WARNING: you will get to a stage where your fingers are covered in eggy flour and you think it’s a lost cause , keep faith! Keep adding the flour until you have a firm ball of dough which when you bend doesn’t crack, but slowly tears. You’ll know when you’re a the right stage due to your arm feeling like its about to fall off! Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for at least 30 mins

When you are ready to roll out your pasta, take out the fridge to get to room temperature, it won’t roll properly if too cold. Cut your huge ball into 3-5 pieces, otherwise when you roll it out it will be far too long to manage.

Get your pasta machine out (if you don’t have one you can manage with a rolling pin). Set it on the highest setting and start working the dough through, lowering the setting and folding the dough over until you have a long strip. Feed it through slowly and catch on the back of your hand.

Normally you would wait until you can see newspaper through the dough but as this dish is a bit less refined than a ravioli, a bit thicker is probably better.

Just keep rolling rolling rolling

Time to assemble! Grease your bowl and cut the pasta into sheets so that they are just longer than you need to cover the sides of the bowl. Layer the bowl with pasta sheets to create the crust, leaving a fair amount of overhang to cover the base later.

Now for the fun bit – Start adding your choice of fillings, leaving a layer of pasta sheets inbetween and wiping with white sauce. We did something like salami, cheese, pesto, cheese, bolagnase, salami, cheese. Once you have finished, wrap over the ends on the pasta and brush to seal with white sauce.

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Cover in foil and cook at 180 degrees for 30minutes before uncovering and cooking for a further 15.

  • Flip it out onto a board, cut and enjoy.

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