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This recipe is a holiday recipe for a crowd! Read through the recipe, including notes at the bottom regarding making a smaller batch, or prepping ahead of time.

Butternut Squash, Chard, and Polenta Lasagna with Citrusy Frisée Salad

Active Time: 60-75 minutes / Cook Time: 75 minutes / Total Time: 1 ¼-1 ½ hours

Makes 15 servings

Chef’s Tip: This makes a great dinner for entertaining, since it serves a crowd. If you would like to do some prep ahead, slice the polenta rounds, roast the squash, and chop the Swiss Chard the day before. Package everything in airtight containers and store in the refrigerator until needed.

Butternut Squash%2c Chard%2c & Polenta Lasagna.JPG

Ingredients:

  • For the polenta layers:
    • 3 (18 oz.) organic, gluten-free, pre-cooked polenta tubes, sliced into ¼” thick rounds
  • For the Butternut Squash:
    • ½ tablespoon ghee, melted
    • 1 butternut squash, (about 2 lbs.) peeled, halved, seeded and cut into ½” half-moons
    • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
    • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage OR ½ tablespoon dried sage
  • For the Béchamel and Chard:
    • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted grass-fed butter
    • 4 cups almond milk
    • 4 ½ tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
    • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
    • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
    • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
    • 2 bunches Swiss Chard, stems removed and leaves chopped
  • For assembly:
    • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, OR a mix of mozzarella and gruyere
  • For the Salad:
    • 1 large head Frisée lettuce (escarole, arugula, endive or a mix of all four can be substituted)
    • 1 small shallot, very thinly sliced
    • 2 oranges, peeled, separated into segments, segments cut into thirds
    • 1 orange, juiced
    • ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
    • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together all of the butternut squash ingredients until evenly distributed. Transfer to the sheet pans in an even layer and roast for 20 minutes, flipping once, or until squash is just tender. Set aside and lower the oven to 350°F.
  3. While the squash roasts, make the béchamel: melt the butter medium-high heat in a large saucepan.
  4. While the butter is melting, add milk to a large measuring cup and whisk in the cornstarch.
  5. Once the butter is fully melted and slightly foaming, slowly pour the milk mixture into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Bring the mixture to a low boil, whisking the whole time and making sure to get into the edges of the pan. This should take about 7-10 minutes. (If you’re impatient, increase the heat to high, but don’t look away; milk burns and boils over easily.)
  6. Once the mixture boils, reduce the heat to low, switch to a wooden spoon, and keep stirring until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon, about 5 minutes. If you run your finger down the middle of the back of the spoon, it should leave an open trail.
  7. Add the nutmeg, salt, black pepper, and cheese to the sauce and stir well to combine. Remove 1 ½ cups and set aside.
  8. Stir half of the Swiss Chard into the sauce remaining in the saucepan and set aside.
  9. To assemble: grease a 9 x13 casserole with ghee. Add ¼ cup of the sauce without chard to the bottom of the pan and spread it around. Top with a layer of polenta rounds (you’ll need 3 layers of polenta for the whole dish, using one tube per layer).
  10. Add half of the squash on top of the polenta rounds, and spread ½ of the sauce with the chard in it on top of the squash. Sprinkle with ½ cup mozzarella. Repeat with a layer of polenta, the remaining squash, the remaining Swiss Chard, the remaining sauce with the chard in it, and another ½ cup of cheese.
  11. Add the final layer of polenta rounds to the pan. Spread the remaining 1 ½ cups of plain sauce on top of the polenta and sprinkle with the final cup of mozzarella.
  12. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10-15, or until the top is lightly golden-brown in spots. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before slicing into 15 pieces.
  13. While the lasagna bakes, make the salad: chop or tear the Frisée into large pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the shallot and toss. Transfer to a serving platter and top with the orange segments and parsley.
  14. In a large measuring cup or a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Pour over the salad and lightly toss, or pass at the table.

*You can halve the lasagna recipe and make it in an 8-inch square baking dish, if desired. The lasagna freezes beautifully, though! Freeze already-cut pieces in airtight containers, and remove from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before using. A microwave is the best way to reheat them, but placed in a baking dish, wrapped tightly in foil, and baked in a 300° F oven for about 20 minutes should also do it.