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Slow-Cooker Lasagna with Beef Ragu and Kabocha Squash

Slow-Cooker Lasagna with Beef Ragu and Kabocha Squash

  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3.5 hours
  • Servings: 8

If you’ve never tried making lasagna in a slow cooker, you should definitely give it a try, since the long, slow cooking time allows all the different flavours to meld beautifully. And, although there are a number of steps in this recipe, most of them can be done in advance, leaving you only to layer the ingredients in the slow cooker and let the lasagna bubble away on the day you plan to serve it. If you like, you can use butternut or other winter squash in place of the kabocha.


  • 1 small kabocha squash, about 1 1/2 lb. (750 g)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. (500 g) lean ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) bulk Italian sausage
  • 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) marinara sauce
  • 9 dried lasagna noodles (not “no-boil” noodles)
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 oz./375 g) crème fraîche
  • 1 cup (4 oz./125 g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup (4 oz./125 g) shredded mozzarella cheese


  • Preheat an oven to 425°F (220°C).
  • Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler, then halve through the stem end. Using a metal spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds. Cut the squash crosswise into slices 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick and transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil, toss to coat evenly, then spread the slices in a single layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until just barely tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the beef ragu. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1 Tbs. oil. Add the onion, carrot, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened, about 6 minutes. Add the beef and sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add the marinara sauce and 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) water, stir well and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat.
  • Spread 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) of the sauce on the bottom of the slow cooker. Cover the sauce with 3 uncooked lasagna noodles, breaking the noodles as needed to fit in a single layer. Spread 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) of the sauce evenly over the noodles. Dollop 3/4 cup (6 oz./180 g) of the crème fraîche in an even layer on the sauce, then sprinkle with 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) of the Parmesan. Arrange half of the squash slices in a single layer over the cheese layer, then top with 1 cup of the sauce. Repeat the layers, starting with 3 noodles, then 1 cup sauce, the remaining 3/4 cup crème fraîche, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, the remaining squash slices and 1 cup of the sauce. Top the sauce with a third layer of noodles, then the remaining sauce (about 1 1/2 cups/375 ml). Top evenly with the mozzarella and the remaining 1/2 cup (60 g) Parmesan. Drizzle 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) water around the edges of the lasagna.
  • Cover and cook on low setting for 4 hours. The lasagna noodles and squash will be cooked through and tender.
  • Uncover, taking care not to let the condensation on the lid drip back onto the lasagna. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving directly from the slow cooker. Serves 8.
  • Adapted from Williams Sonoma Everyday Slow Cooking (Weldon Owen, 2018)

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