Sunday, November 3, 2013

Harvest Squash, Veggie, and Pumpkin Lasagna

I had this idea about a week ago. It was vaguely inspired about a month ago by a dish at a restaurant, but I knew I wanted to do something different. Last weekend as we brainstormed our meals for the week I hatched a real plan for the dish.

It. Was. Epic.

Now I normally don't oversell my dishes (*cough*snickerdoodles*cough*) but this one... it blew my mind. After I put it in the oven I fretted over ingredients that might have made it better. It was superb the way it was. Perfect Sunday dinner, with spectacular leftovers for Monday lunch. This is an instant hit for the "if I open a restaurant, I'll serve..." list.

Wonderful winter squash lasagna with pumpkin, zucchini, and corn. From

Harvest Squash, Veggie, and Pumpkin Lasagna
a Joyful Foodie original recipe

1 medium summer squash
1 medium zucchini
3-4 medium carrots
1 medium butternut squash (or half of an alarmingly large one, if that's what they have...)
2 or 3 ears of corn
3 cups marinara sauce, divided
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
salt, pepper, and garlic powder for seasoning layers as desired
lasagna noodles
shredded parmesan cheese
8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced thin

1) Boil water for lasagna noodles. Meanwhile, peel first 4 ingredients and figure out how many noodles fit in your rectangular baking dish. Multiply that times 3ish. (I needed 10 noodles total.)

2) While lasagna noodles cook according to package directions, shred the peeled veggies in your food processor or on your box grater. Cut the corn off the cobs. Toss all shredded veggies and corn together to get a more balanced distribution.

3) Whisk together the pumpkin, ricotta, and 1 1/2 cup of the marinara.

4) When the noodles are done, remove from the hot water if you need more time with the veggies. Otherwise, you're ready to start layering.
5) Layer ingredients as follows: pasta (to cover the bottom of the dish), 3 cups veggie mix, 1 cup sauce mix, repeat for a second layer. The third layer will end with the remaining 1 1/2 cups straight marinara sauce instead of the sauce mix.
My pan had two complete layers and an abbreviated one: pasta, veggie, sauce, pasta veggie, sauce, shredded parmesan, a little less than half the mozzarella, pasta, 2 cups veggies (instead of 3), straight marinara sauce.

6) Bake, covered with tin foil, in 20 minute increments, checking to see if it is heated. Mine took an hour, but that can vary greatly depending on dish material and size. You can use a meat thermometer to check it... you want it to be bubbling slightly, and steaming when you take off the foil. Mine had an internal temperature of about 130-140 when I took it out.
7) Lay the remaining mozzarella on top of the sauce, cover, and bake until cheese is melted (about 10 minutes more.)

8) Let rest for as close to 5 minutes as you can stand. Serve with parmesan cheese if desired.

The hour was perfect. The veggies were tender-crisp and had some actual texture. The flavors had time to mingle. Delightful. YUM.
Brian also pointed out that this would make a yummy ziti... with pasta and veggies tossed together and baked in a casserole. That would take a little less prep time if you were rushed on assembly, but would probably need similar bake time since none of the ingredients are cooked. However, since there is no raw egg or meat in this, if you don't get the dish up to 140, its ok. :)

So, what's your favorite Sunday dinner? What makes it stick for you and yours?

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