So, I’m not usually one to share a recipe the same day I make it, but today, I’ve made an exception… because pumpkin is just that good.
Behold, the glory that is Pumpkin, Sausage, and Spinach Lasagna! Or, as Ben is apt to call it, lasumpkin. But, with no offense to my handsome husband, “lasumpkin” just doesn’t sound that appetizing. In fact, it sounds a wee bit sketchy and gross. I think that’s why he chose that fine name for this dish… because he thought it would taste sketchy and gross and weird. See, the thing is, I’ve had my eye out on pumpkin lasagna recipes for over a year, since before I made this. I found several recipes floating around the internet here and here, but never really made them because they sounded too rich or just not my thing. So he’s had a year to ponder and fear the depths of “lasumpkin.” But he tried it. And liked it. For that, I am thrilled.
I’ll warn you at the outset–this is not your typical lasagna. Don’t be wary because of the pumpkin and nutmeg. This is not a dessert lasagna where fruit and chocolate hide underneath pumpkin-laden noodles. On the contrary, my Pumpkin, Sausage, and Spinach Lasagna is a fresh take on an old classic, and is most definitely a hearty, savory main course to remember.
For a fresh take on lasagna, look no further! Nary a tomato can be found in the sauce, but all other typical fixings are present–noodles, sauce, cheese, and meat. Like other savory pumpkin or squash dishes, a plethora of herbs and spices work hard to accent the chameleon-like abilities of the pumpkin puree to adapt to whatever taste palate is being summoned. The creamy sauce is further enhanced by the use of sweet Italian sausage instead of the average ground beef. The richness of the ricotta cheese is tempered by the addition of iron-rich spinach, thrown in at the eleventh hour to use up some greens on their way out. Best. decision. ever. If there’s ever a time to have a bright orange and green pasta dish, October is where it’s at! The spinach/ricotta layer reminded the husband think of spinach manacotti, which he apparently loves. Win/win for the familiarity card that got seconds of lasumpkin on the husband’s dinner plate.
So, all that being said [I must be long-winded tonight… or just excited.], I really hope you’ll give Pumpkin, Sausage, and Spinach Lasagna a try sometime in this fall season. Not only is pumpkin good for you with it’s beta-carotene, immune-boosting carotenoids, and abundant fiber and potassium, but it tastes good too–in sweet and savory dishes. So do me a favor and try it out soon. I’d love to know what you think!
Reader Question ~ Anyone else have crazy names for foods/recipes to share? Or am I alone in the land of lasumpkin?
Pumpkin, Sausage, and Spinach Lasagna [a Pajama Chef original]
- 8 ounces lasagna noodles
- 16 ounces ground mild Italian sausage
- 1/2 cup onions, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 29 ounces pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cup skim milk
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh sage, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- pinch salt
- 15 ounces part skim ricotta cheese
- 2 cups fresh spinach, packed tight
- 1 egg
- 8 ounces Mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1/2-2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated [I didn’t measure this…]
Begin by boiling a large pot of water and preheating the oven to 400 degrees
Then, brown sausage in a deep skillet and drain fat. Set aside and saute the onions and garlic. Then return sausage to pan and add pumpkin, milk, sage, pepper, nutmeg, and oregano. Stir together and taste, adding salt and/or more pepper if necessary. Set aside.
When water is boiling, add noodles and cook to just under al dente.
Meanwhile, pulse together ricotta, spinach, and egg in a food processor until smooth.
When noodles are ready, assemble lasagna by spreading a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Top with a third of the noodles, a third of the spinach/ricotta mixture, and a third of the Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Repeat twice, finishing with a layer of sauce. [I always skimp on the sauce in the layers, preferring to have plenty to cover the dish with and ensure that noodles don’t crisp in the oven.]
Bake lasagna for 35-40 minutes or until hot. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Time: 65-70 minutes [30 minutes active].
Yield: 12-14 servings [leftovers are great frozen].