I know. I know. It’s been a year since I posted. Not exactly “living full-time.” But here’s the deal: I kept forgetting to take pictures of stuff. I’m terrible at remembering that.
Plenty has happened over that year though. I moved to a new state and bought a new house that is kind of ridiculous. I’ve cleared the yard to get ready for a nice-sized vegetable garden. I started a new job which I love.
And guys, it’s like a real grown-up job where I have paid time off. No more grad school life where you’re in the lab 80-100 hours a week and afraid to take a day off even for a death in the family. The day when I worked on this recipe, I took a day off just to take care of errands. It was magnificent. I’d forgotten how great it is to have a day off in the middle of the week. No lines anywhere! Even the DMV!
Anyway, I organize the office pot luck lunches so I feel like I have to bring something decent each time. I just wrote “lasagna” on the sign-up sheet but didn’t really make a plan for what kind of lasagna that was going to be. As the weather turned cooler, I decided on pumpkin. But then, as I had my leisurely, crowd-free stroll through the produce section, I started throwing more ingredients into the shopping cart. So my pumpkin lasagna turned into an Autumn Harvest Lasagna!
I don’t usually include hard to find ingredients in these recipes, but I couldn’t resist the Mimolette cheese. It’s a warm orange, nutty, hard cheese that tastes like a milder parmesan. I knew that I didn’t want too much pumpkin in the sauce and the Mimolette helped bring that pumpkin color to the dish. It’s definitely not a big deal if you can’t find it; just substitute with parmesan.
Autumn Harvest Lasagna
- One box of lasagna noodles
- One cup of shredded mozzarella for the top
For the sauce
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- a generous handful of fresh sage, coarsely chopped
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 cups dairy (anywhere from skim milk to heavy cream, depending on how indulgent you want this to be)
- 2 cups vegetable broth (I used Imagine Organic No Chicken broth)
- 6 ounces Mimolette cheese (or Parmesan if you can’t find Mimolette), grated
- 6 ounces Gruyere, grated
For the vegetable mixture
- 3 delicata squash, chopped and seeds removed
- olive oil
- 2 shallots, minced
- 10 ounces of spinach, roughly chopped
- 6 ounces of white mushrooms, diced
- 3 tablespoons dry sherry
- one handful of fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
For the ricotta mixture
- 2 pounds ricotta
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
- one handful of fresh sage, coarsely chopped
- 2 eggs
Preheat the oven to 450º F. Boil your lasagna noodles. Strain and set aside.
For the sauce: in a large pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the garlic to the pot and season with salt. Saute until the garlic softens. Add the sage and stir for about a minute. Stir in the pumpkin puree and whisk in the flour. Stir until the roux starts to turn golden and foamy. Whisk in the milk/cream and simmer on medium-low for about 10 minutes. Whisk in the cheeses and set the sauce aside.
For the vegetable mixture: Place chopped squash on a large rimmed cookie sheet; drizzle on olive oil and salt. Roast at 450º F for about 20 minutes, until the squash is soft and parts are starting to burn. Reduce oven temperature to 350º F.
In a saute pan, saute the shallots in olive oil until they start to turn translucent.
Add the mushrooms and cook for two minutes.
Add the sherry and spinach.
Cover and let the spinach steam for about two minutes. Simmer uncovered until the liquid evaporates. Once the squash has finished cooking, add the squash to the pan.
Stir in about a cup of the pumpkin sauce to make the mixture soupy.
For the ricotta mixture: Stir all that shit in a bowl.
Now assemble the lasagna. Cover the bottom of your casserole dish (I used an 11″x14″ dish) with sauce. Add a layer of noodles. And a layer of ricotta mixture. And a layer of vegetables.
Repeat until the dish is almost full and add a final layer of noodles. Cover with sauce and sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake at 350º for forty minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another twenty minutes.