The other day I made the kitchn’s Pumpkin & Ricotta Pasta Casserole. While I made it, I kept thinking about how much it reminded me of lasagna. Pumpkin lasagna. Must’ve been the Ricotta in the dish. Well, and it has pasta, just a different form of pasta. So, I decided that if the flavors were good, I’d try to recreate it as a lasagna.
The flavors were great! Perhaps it was a little on the dry side for my taste. And, I wanted a little more spice in the pumpkin (Dan and I have always liked our pumpkin pie a little on the spicier side). Dan also wanted a little more pumpkin flavor. I think the addition of more spice will up the pumpkin flavor. But, just to make sure, I thought that a roasted butternut squash would up the ante. Sweet Potato Puree or canned yams would also do the trick (as well as adding a little moisture).
The one thing I don’t care for in the kitchen is cutting into a hard butternut squash. Well, the kitchn to the rescue again! They posted a trick to cutting any hard winter squash (acorn, butternut, pumpkin, hubbard, anything) without that annoying worry of chopping into your hand.
Quoted from the kitchn: “Here it is: roast the squash whole. Just for the first twenty minutes or so until the flesh begins to soften. Then you take it out of the oven and slice it into halves, quarters, chunks, whatever you need. Another forty minutes in the oven will complete the roasting.”
I tried it and, YES it works! I roasted the squash whole for 20 minutes; took the squash out, turned off the oven, and let it sit while I ran some errands. I came back and cut it open. The knife slid into the squash with little resistance. So easy! So great! Once you’ve cut it, finish roasting for 40 more minutes. I’m totally doing this from now on, especially since my garden always giving me hard winter squash.
So, the instructions for the pumpkin lasagna call for this roasting method, because I think it’s that good. The rest of the changes I made to the original casserole were to make the dish a little more like a spicy pumpkin pie crossed with my Red Pepper and Fresh Mozzarella Lasagna.
And, how was it? Great! It tasted like eating Autumn. All pumpkin-y and spicy and cheesy. It was moist and full of flavor. Dan even said he couldn’t tell which he liked more, the new pumpkin lasagna or the red pepper one. Awesome!
On the health side of things, this vegetarian lasagna is a good source of vitamin A, is filled with Beta-Carotene which can protect your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals and can enhance the functioning of your immune system. This lasagna is also lower in calories and fat than most.
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon dried ground ginger
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 10 no-boil lasagna noodles
- 1 (15-oz) container ricotta cheese
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, chopped 1/2 to 1-inch pieces
- ½ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Place the butternut squash directly in the oven, whole. Bake for 20 minutes or until soft enough to cut in half with little effort. Cut in quarters, place in a baking dish or large cast iron skillet, and roast for 40 more minutes or until the skin can be easily peeled away from the flesh. Cut into chunks about ½ to 1-inch in size. Set aside. Reduce the heat on the oven to 350° F.
- In a small bowl, mix together the pumpkin and the next 7 ingredients (salt through maple syrup). Set aside.
- In another small bowl, stir together the ricotta, 2/3 of the chopped mozzarella, and ¼ cup of Parmesan. Set aside.
- Lightly coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon 1/3 cup of the pumpkin sauce in the dish. Top with 2 lasagna noodles. Spoon ¼ of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Top with ¼ of the butternut squash chunks. Top with 1/3 cup of sauce.
- Top with two more noodles, continuing to layer like this until all the cheese and squash is used. Add last 2 lasagna noodles, and remaining sauce. Dot the top with remaining chopped mozzarella and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.
- Cover with foil. Bake for 50 minutes. Let stand, covered, on a rack for 20 minutes before serving. Enjoy!