Recipe: Pumpkin & Mushroom Lasagna

This is an interesting Thanksgiving twist on traditional lasagna. The pumpkin and mushrooms combine for a savory, earthy flavor that is anything but dull.

Pair it with a mixed-greens salad topped with dried cranberries, candied walnuts, gorgonzola or feta cheese and raspberry vinaigrette for a tasty vegetarian holiday meal.

Pumpkin & Mushroom Lasagna with a Green Salad

12 whole grain lasagna noodles
1 15 oz. carton low- or nonfat ricotta cheese
16 oz. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
6 oz. shredded aged, hard Italian cheese such as parmigiano-reggiano, pecorino-romano or asiago (avoid the stuff in the green can this time around)
8 oz. shiitake mushroom caps, sliced thin
8 oz. portobello mushrooms, sliced thin
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1½ c diced sweet onion
2 teaspoons dried sage
2 15 oz. cans pureed pumpkin
¾ cup warm 1% milk thickened with 1 tablespoon cornstarch (soy, rice, or nutmilk may be substituted if necessary)
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil, add the lasagna noodles, and cook until al dente. Drain the lasagna noodles into a colander or mesh strainer. Rinse out and refill the stockpot with cold water, adding ice cubes if necessary. Transfer the lasagna noodles back into the pot of cold water and set aside. This will keep them from sticking together when it is time to layer the lasagna.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the three cheeses and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Test with a drop of water; if it sizzles it is ready. Add the sliced shiitake caps, portobellos, and ½ teaspoon of the salt to the skillet and sauté the mushrooms until all the liquid has evaporated. Transfer to a plate or bowl and set aside.

To the same skillet, add another 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and heat until hot, testing with the water drop once again. Add the diced onions and sauté until translucent and becoming tender. Add the sage and cook for 30 more seconds. Add the pumpkin, thickened milk mixture, cracked black pepper, apple cider vinegar, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt to the skillet. Stir to blend and heat to simmer.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat an 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking pan (available for purchase by clicking the link at the end of this recipe) with cooking spray. Spread 1/3 cup of the pumpkin sauce mixture around the bottom of the pan. Layer the ingredients in the following order: 4 lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the pumpkin sauce, 1/3 of the mushrooms, and 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Repeat the layering order two more times.

Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown and bubbling. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Yield: 6-8 servings

For fresh, quality, naturally-grown sage and black pepper in this recipe, visit MySpiceSage by clicking on the banner below:

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