Lasagna with Winter Squash, Spinach and Ricotta

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 Lasagna with Winter Squash, Spinach and Ricotta

Ingredients

– 1/2 recipe of our Homemade Pasta for Cannelloni and Lasagna or your favorite brand of  lasagna

– 1 pound of peeled, seeded and cubed winter squash (butternut squash, pumpkin, calabasa or buttercup squash will all work)

– 1/4 small onion, minced

– 8 ounces fresh ricotta cheese

– 1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated

– 5 ounces fresh spinach, chopped

– 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

– 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

– Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. In a sauté pan over medium heat, add the extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup water and the minced onion. Bring the onion to a simmer and let it cook until it becomes translucent.

  2. When the onion is translucent, add the winter squash to the pan and stir to incorporate the ingredients. If the water has evaporated from the pan, add another 1/4 cup to the pan, bring it to a simmer, cover the pan and cook for 8 – 10 minutes or until the squash begins to soften. Add more water if it should evaporate from the pan before the squash has had a chance to cook down.

  3. Cook the squash until it becomes soft enough to mash with the back of a fork or a potato masher. Proceed to mash all of the squash in the pan until it is a uniform puree.

  4. Add the chopped spinach to the pan and fold it into the mashed squash and onion mixture. Lower the heat to low, cover the pan and cook another 3 – 5 minutes or until the spinach has just barely cooked through and is a vibrant green.

  5. Once the spinach has cooked, remove the pan from the heat, set it aside and let the vegetable mixture cool for at least thirty minutes.

  6. In the meantime, if making homemade pasta for the lasagna, prepare the pasta.

  7. If you are using premade pasta, prepare it according to the manufacturer’s instructions just before you are ready to assemble the lasagna.

  8. When you are ready to assemble the lasagna, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

  9. Add the ricotta, nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper to the squash and spinach mixture. Fold all of the ingredients together thoroughly so that they are well combined.

  10. Taste the mixture and add more salt and pepper to your taste. Keep in mind that you will be adding the Parmigiano as you assemble the lasagna and this will enhance the saltiness.

  11. Line an oven-safe baking dish with parchment paper or spray it with non-stick cooking spray. To the bottom of the dish, add a generous spoonful of the squash and spinach mixture along with a few tablespoons of water.

  12. Stir the water into the spoonful of filling to thin the mixture and then spread the thinned mixture throughout the bottom of the pan.

  13. Place your first layer of pasta into the dish. Continue adding the pasta until the base of the dish is covered.

  14. On top of the layer of pasta, spoon 2 – 3 generous tablespoons of the squash mixture and spread it evenly over the pasta layer to thinly cover all of the pasta. Make sure the layer of filling is not too thick or you will lose the flavor of the pasta.

  15. Sprinkle a small amount of the grated Parmigiano cheese over the filling and then cover it with the next layer of pasta.

  16. Repeat steps 14 and 15 until you have created at least 5 layers of pasta and have only a small amount of filling remaining.

  17. Thin the remaining filling with a small amount of water and spread it over your last layer of pasta. Sprinkle the top of the lasagna with the remaining Parmigiano.

  18. Cover the baking dish with foil and place the lasagna on the center rack in the oven.

  19. Bake the lasagna for 50 minutes.

  20. After 50 minutes, remove the foil from the lasagna and cook another 10 minutes or until the top of the lasagna turns a golden brown.

  21. Remove the lasagna from the oven and let it cool for at least 15 minutes prior to serving.

Notes

– Frozen squash can be used for this recipe as well as frozen spinach.