Do you ever just have an amazing combination and run with it? Butternut squash and sausage is where it’s at right now. A while back, I put it in with gnocchi, last week a friend of mine added sweet potatoes and sausage to a frittata (recipe coming soon) and now lasagna. It’s crazy good.
A very good friend of mine was moving back to the States and I thought this would be the perfect going away dinner. It was the biggest of hits. Even my husband was a little skeptical of the “new dish”, but 2nd and 3rd helpings confirmed that this was going to be a new staple.
Back when I gave up meat, there was no meat that I ever wanted…except sausage. I don’t miss it until I eat it and then it’s all over. I definitely keep the consumption in moderation, as it’s not the healthiest option for protein. But, oh my goodness, the possibilities are endless. And it’s such a treat. A great choice for a going away dinner.
When I have ricotta on hand, I use that for lasagna, but what I love even more than ricotta in my lasagna is cottage cheese. I know you are thinking that the texture would be a little off. Blend up the cottage cheese until it’s creamy and the texture is similar to ricotta and protein amounts are about the same. So, never make a special trip to the store if you are out of ricotta, use that cottage cheese.
This is also a great way to experiment with butternut squash. My kiddos are not a giant fan, but when I mix it with something, let’s say sausage, they forget all about their disdain for the winter veggie and there are no complaints. Butternut squash is packed with vitamin A and vitamin C and has NO fat.
Okay, here it is. You’ve been patient enough.
- 1 small butternut squash
- 8 oz natural MSG-free sausage
- 2 cups ricotta or cottage cheese (blended)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pinch nutmeg
- 9 whole wheat lasagna noodles
- 2-3 cups tomato sauce
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 375ºF or 190ºC
- Carefully remove the outer peel from the butternut squash, remove seeds and split in half
- Microwave squash until fork tender, about 8-10 minutes, checking every 3-4 minutes
- When butternut squash is cool to the touch, cut into bite sized cubes and set aside
- In a medium saucepan over high heat, cook sausage, drain and set aside
- In a medium to large stockpot, cook lasagna noodles according to package directions, set aside
- In a medium bowl, add ricotta or cottage cheese (see note below), egg, salt and nutmeg
- Layer lasagna: Add 1/2 cup sauce to the bottom, layer 3 lasagna noodles over the sauce
- Top noodles with 1/2 of ricotta mixture, 1/2 of the butternut squash cubes, and 1/2 sausage
- Top with 1 cup sauce and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
- Follow with 3 more noodles, the remaining ricotta, butternut squash, sausage, and sauce
- Add the remaining noodles to the top and sprinkle with remaining cheese
- Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes
- Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes
- Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes