Rachael Ray’s Recipe for Pumpkin Lovers’ Lasagna

Rachael Ray's pumpkin lasagnaTexas Conference for Women keynote Rachael Ray shares one of her favorite fall recipes!

“My favorite season: fall. My favorite fall flavor: pumpkin. One of my all-time favorite dishes: lasagna. Need I say more?”

SERVES 6 TO 8

Ingredients:

Kosher salt and pepper
1 head escarole, coarsely chopped
1 head garlic, cloves separated, unpeeled
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) butter
10 to 12 leaves sage, torn
1 pound butternut squash or sugar pumpkin, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
1½ cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
Freshly grated nutmeg
3 eggs
2 (15-ounce) cans unsweetened pumpkin puree
2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 (9-ounce) box no‑boil, ovenready lasagna sheets, soaked in warm water for 5 minutes
¾ pound Italian Fontina, Fontina
Val d’Aosta, or Gouda cheese, shredded

Directions

Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a large pot. Salt the water and add the escarole. Cook for 5 minutes, drain, and reserve. In a small saucepan, cover the garlic cloves with water and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain and cool. Squish them out of their skins and mash with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a deep, wide skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Stir in the sage. Add the butternut squash in one layer and stir to coat with the butter; season with salt and pepper. Add the stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until the stock is absorbed and the squash is lightly browned and tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat.

In another medium saucepan, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and mashed garlic. Season with salt, pepper, and a few grates of nutmeg. Thicken slightly; the sauce should just very lightly coat the back of a spoon.

In a bowl, stir together 2 of the eggs and the pumpkin puree; season with salt and pepper. In another bowl, stir together the remaining 1 egg, the ricotta, and 1 cup of the Parm.

Pour about half the garlic sauce into the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish or lasagna pan and begin to build the lasagna. Layer in 3 lasagna sheets, half of the pumpkin mixture, 3 lasagna sheets, all of the ricotta mixture, the butternut squash, and escarole. Top with half the Fontina, 3 lasagna sheets, the remaining pumpkin, 4 lasagna sheets (overlapping), then the remainder of the garlic sauce, remaining Fontina, and remaining Parm.

[Make-ahead: Let cool and refrigerate.]
[Night of: Return the lasagna to room temp while you preheat the oven to 375°F.]

Bake for 45 minutes (or up to 1 hour, covered, if the lasagna is still cold). Increase the oven temperature to 400°F and bake for 15 minutes (uncover if it was covered) to brown the cheese. Let rest for 15 minutes, cut, and serve.

Copyright © 2013 by Rachael Ray from WEEK IN A DAY published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.