Use either “sugar baby” pumpkins or butternut squash for this recipe. The larger kind, used for jack-o'-lanterns, are not very flavorful, and are intended mostly for decoration. If you find Mexican pumpkin, called calabaza, use it.
INGREDIENTS | SERVES 8
- 1 pound lasagna
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 small pumpkin (2–3 pounds)
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 large bunch spinach (or cello bag), washed thoroughly
- 2 pounds ricotta
- 1 egg
- 4 ounces Parmesan, grated
- 4 ounces grated mozzarella or provolone cheese
- 2 cups tomato sauce
Cook lasagna according to directions on box (it's best to undercook a little). Rinse and drain. Toss with a drop of olive oil. Set aside. Refill pasta pot with 3 quarts water, add 1 tablespoon salt, and bring to a boil.
Peel pumpkin (I cut off the top and bottom and shave the outside with a knife, always shaving downward, toward the cutting board. You may find a potato peeler easier.), discard seeds, and cube into bite-size pieces. Boil pumpkin pieces 15 minutes, until tender, in salted water. Drain, and toss with crushed pepper and nutmeg.
In a 10-inch skillet sauté half of the garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil, adding half of the spinach when garlic starts to brown. Allow spinach to wilt, then turn out onto a plate, and repeat with remaining spinach and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Mix the ricotta, egg, and Parmesan together. Set aside.
Assemble the lasagna in layers, starting with noodle, then cheese mixture, then spinach and pumpkin. Make 2 more layers, making sure to save unbroken lasagna for the top layer. Sprinkle grated mozzarella or provolone on top.
Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees until brown and bubbling on top. Let rest 15 minutes before serving with tomato sauce on the side.