Quick Squash Lasagna
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With layers of pasta, sauce and gooey cheese, lasagna is a dinnertime masterpiece. But we’re no Italian nonna, and spending the day assembling dinner just isn’t in the cards. Enter this recipe for quick squash lasagna from Anna Jones’s new cookbook, One: Pot, Pan, Planet. It’s ready to eat in about 45 minutes and it’s vegetarian (or vegan, if you’d like).
“Pasta has my heart like nothing else,” Jones writes. “My love affair with it was cemented when making stuffed agnolotti, caramelle and everything in between in restaurant kitchens, but it started with something simpler: my mum’s lasagna. This lasagna is something slightly different but still as nostalgic and comforting. It is the quickest I’ve made, ready for the oven in ten minutes (not the hour it normally takes), yet there is still a rich deep tomato sauce and those crisp baked edges to fight over.”
Jones notes that she doesn’t pre-cook her lasagna sheets, since they cook in the sauce. “I like them a little al dente,” she says, but if you prefer them softer, you could use fresh pasta sheets.
From One: Pot, Pan, Planet by Anna Jones. Copyright © 2021 by Anna Jones. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
2¾ cups tomato purée or crushed canned tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Two 15-ounce cans green or Puy lentils, drained (or 9 ounces home-cooked)
½ a butternut squash (about 1⅓ pounds), peeled and grated
⅓ cup black olives, pitted and chopped
2 tablespoons capers
Zest of 1 lemon
Small bunch of basil, leaves picked
Two 4-ounce balls mozzarella or vegan-style mozzarella
9 ounces dried lasagna sheets
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes with the oil, ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt, the chopped garlic, pepper flakes, lentils, squash, olives, capers and lemon zest. Tear the basil leaves in half.
3. Spoon a quarter of the sauce into an ovenproof dish roughly 8-by-12 inches (I use an oval roughly the same size), tear over a third of one of the balls of mozzarella, then cover with pasta sheets. Repeat for another two layers: a quarter of the sauce, a third of a ball of mozzarella, a layer of pasta.
4. Finish with a final layer of sauce, then tear over the whole second ball of mozzarella, sprinkle with salt and pepper, top with the basil and drizzle with a little more olive oil.
5. Bake until the mozzarella is deeply golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve with a sharply dressed salad (I mix lemon juice, cider vinegar, mustard and extra virgin olive oil, and toss through a bowl of green leaves).