Friday, August 27, 2010

Cleaning Out the Pantry = Pumpkin-Sausage Lasagna

It may be too early for things pumpkin, but a casual inventory of my pantry reminded me that I had too many cans of pumpkin leftover from last year (as well as way too many bags of dried beans of all colors, two cans of Queen Anne cherries – what had I planned to make with those? – and lots of chocolate) so I was on a mission to use them now. Mind you, I’d still have enough pumpkin for a pie or a pumpkin cheesecake this fall.

My mother-in-law came through again with inspiration, due to the fact that the Rachael Ray show she had on TV that morning I visited featured Pumpkin-Sausage Lasagna. (My mother-in-law actually flips back and forth between Ellen DeGeneres and Rachael – doesn’t want to miss either, although usually Ellen wins more of her attention.)

So I returned home, found the recipe on the internet, and went to work. Although it will never replace traditional lasagna, with tomato sauce, sausage, ricotta and mozzarella (my husband’s favorite) or white lasagna, with spinach, chicken, and provolone (my favorite) it was a nice savory change of pace. There should be lasagna cook-offs, just like chili cook offs.

Now the original recipe called for starting with fresh butternut squash or pumpkin, but since that wasn’t my mission, I used my cans. I was also lucky that my fresh sage grew quite well this year so this wasn’t totally a pantry meal. (Although really one of my favorite things to do is rummage between the fridge and the pantry and come up with something great. Nine times out of 10 it’s great. We won’t talk about Number 10.)

So here’s my version. In addition to the can versus fresh, I also used hot sausage instead of sweet. Still a bit rich. Would skim milk in the white sauce be enough to slim it down?

Sausage and Pumpkin Lasagna
Adapted from Rachael Ray

2 -151/2 oz. cans pumpkin
Salt & pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
3 cups chicken stock
2 T honey
2 pounds hot Italian sausage
4 T butter
3 T flour
1 qt whole milk
10-12 fresh sage leaves, very thinly sliced
2 boxes no-boil lasagna sheets
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
¼ c flat leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, place the two cans of opened pumpkin and add a few grates of nutmeg, the chicken stock and the honey.

Heat a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat and brown the sausage crumbling into small bits.

While the sausage cooks, in a medium pot, heat the butter and milk, stir in the flour then the milk. Season with salt & pepper a little more freshly grated nutmeg and the sage. Cook until thick, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 7-8 minutes.

To assemble:

In the bottom of a 9x13 casserole, dot some of the pumpkin mixture, and then add a layer of pasta. Top with 1/3 of the cooked sausage and cover lightly with 1/3 of the pumpkin. Cover with another layer of pasta, 1/3 of the white sauce and ½ cup Parmesan. Repeat with 2 more layers, ending each with the white sauce and using all the remaining cheese for the top layer. Sprinkle the parsley on top and bake lasagna for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook about 15 minutes more to brown the top.

Serves 6 to 8.


  1. When I saw the title of this post,I just had to check it out. Honestly, at first glance, I was wrinkling my nose, but reading through the recipe, I am totally ingrigued. Will bookmark this site...a good recipe for this fall! Thanks! (I may substitute something other than the sausage...maybe)

  2. now that is certainly thinking outside the box! I bet the flavors went very well together and tasted pretty darn good! Thanks for sharing this creation!

  3. You know, the fresh sage really made a big difference . . . next time, though, I'll cut back on the honey (I didn't really measure and it was a bit sweet) and I'll try skim milk for the sauce.

  4. I think I've got a can of pumpkin lurking in my cupboard too. What a delicious idea!

  5. It is never too early to use pumpkin! Especially for genius recipes like this one! Bravo

  6. Oh! I wish I had some extra pumpkin laying around...there's none around here and I'm seriously craving some! This lasagna sounds delicious :)

  7. I made a pumpkin lasagna one time, but the family thought it was really bland. I think the sausage would have helped that out though. Good job.

  8. I tried the Rachel Ray version and used hot Italian sausage. It was good, but it seemed like something was missing. It was easy but I think the honey and the sage will make it better. Thanks!


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