How about a festive pumpkin lasagna for Halloween or Thanksgiving?
One of the tips to enjoy a rich, hearty dish like lasagna is to serve it in smaller portions as a first course. Our friend Ruth’s Italian-American mother always served a pasta course before the Thanksgiving turkey.
You can buy delicious pumpkin ravioli and serve it with any sauce—Alfredo, butter, olive oil, pumpkin or tomato. You can make pumpkin mac and cheese, and for more fun serve it in a hollowed-out baby pumpkin garnished with shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas).
You can add diced pumpkin (or its stand-ins, acorn or butternut squash) to cooked pasta, purée the pumpkin into a sauce (here’s a recipe) or both.
Our second lasagna recipe is even easier, because it’s a ravioli lasagna: ravioli is used instead of lasagna noodles.
RECIPE #1: DUTCH OVEN PUMPKIN LASAGNA
Ingredients For 8 To 10 Servings
1. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. STIR together the ricotta, sage, 3 tablespoons of the parsley and all the garlic in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
3. TOSS the yellow squash and zucchini with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast until tender and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile…
4. WARM the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in an oval Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the yellow squash and zucchini. Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F.
5. SPREAD 1/2 cup pasta sauce in an even layer on the bottom of the Dutch oven. Arrange a single layer of lasagna noodles on top, tearing them as needed to fit. Spread 1/2 cup of the ricotta mixture on the noodles and scatter 1 cup of the vegetable mixture on top. Spread 1/2 cup pasta sauce over the vegetables and sprinkle 1 cup of the Fontina on top. Layer the noodles, ricotta, vegetables, sauce and fontina 3 more times, omitting the sauce and fontina on the last layer. Top with the remaining noodles, sauce and Fontina.
6. TRANSFER to the oven and bake until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted and browned, 45 to 50 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of parsley on top. Let the lasagna rest for 15 minutes before serving.
RECIPE #2: RAVIOLI LASAGNA WITH PUMPKIN SAUCE
If you don’t make lasagna often, you may find yourself struggling with the lasagna noodles. Bless the person who first thought of this trick: use cooked ravioli instead of lasagna noodles. Alternatively, you can use penne or other tube pasta, but ravioli supplies added filling.
This recipe from Taste Of Home takes 25 minutes to prep and 40 minutes to bake.
 In this lasagna, ravioli substitutes for the lasagna noodles (photo © Taste Of Home).
1. PREHEAT the oven to 400F. Cook the meat in a large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink; drain the fat.
2. LAYER in a greased 2-1/2-quart baking dish: a third of the spaghetti sauce, half of the ravioli and beef and 1/2 cup cheese; sprinkle with herbs. Repeat the layers. Top with the remaining sauce, cheese and herbs.
3. COVER and bake at 400°F for 40-45 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 6-8 servings. If you have leftover fresh herbs, sprinkle them over the cooked lasagna.