Pumpkin, Cheese & Chard Lasagna

The vegetable section of the grocery store is usually a mystery to me: What are those leaves? Is that dirty-looking root thing edible? Do people really enjoy consuming kale, or do they just like purchasing it for the “Look-I’m-so-healthy-and-better-than-you” one-uppance, which I like to call the “grocery twat” factor.

But nothing has fascinated me more than the fall pumpkin and squash section, which I only recently learned is not just there as a seasonal decoration-people actually cook these fuglies and make stuff with them. Laugh all you want, but the only time my foodie family ever touched a whole pumpkin was to turn it into a really ferocious porch creepster.

Imagine my surprise when I felt oddly adventurous a couple of months ago and tried butternut squash ravioli with a sage brown butter sauce, and not only DEVOURED it, but learned that squash can taste like unseasoned canned pumpkin…and that you can BAKE with it. More specifically, that you can pair it with pasta and cream and turn it into a fatty’s paradise [swoon].

After looking online at all the things you can do with squash and carbs, I chose to make a fall lasagna, which consists of lots of veggies-you got sage, parsley, rainbow swiss chard (which is, [ahem] actually more nutrient-dense than kale), butternut squash, pumpkin, and onion-as well as a lot of what makes food actually taste good: milk, cream, fontina, parmesan, and cranberry goat cheese.

All the flavors blend together to make an insanely satisfying seasonal lasagna, which basically counts as no calories at all, since the healthiness of the chard and squash cancel out the unhealthiness of the cream and cheese. It’s how the universe balances itself people, and it’s called science 😉

[Makes a 9×13″ lasagna. However many servings you want to make out of that is up to you, my friend :))

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Equipment: 

  • 9×13″ baking pan
  • Vegetable peeler

Ingredients: [*Note: Many of these ingredients can be subbed for lower-calorie things. Don’t want to use heavy cream? Use fat free 1/2&1/2. Don’t want to use whole milk? Use 2%, etc.]

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 lb. whole milk cottage cheese, mixed with about half of a log of cranberry goat cheese.
  • 1 Tbl. julienned fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf Italian parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • Some kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1 butternut squash, cut, peeled, and sliced thin [more info below]
  • 1 1/2 to 2 lbs. rainbow swiss chard, stems removed, washed and chopped
  • 3 Tbl. olive oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cups [28 oz. can] canned pumpkin puree, divided
  • 12 sheets no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup gated fontina
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided

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Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Cut, peel, and slice your butternut squash. There’s a good tutorial on how to do this here. Basically, you slice off the top and bottom, use a vegetable peeler to trim off the sides, slice the squash lengthwise, scoop out the guts and seeds, then slice into extremely thin pieces.

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You really want the slices thin-see how you can sort of see my finger through the squash? That’s how thin. And don’t judge me on my nails. Sometimes a girl just doesn’t have time, people.

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In a large bowl, toss the squash with 1 Tbl. olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in spread-out layers on the baking sheet and put in the oven to roast until tender and lightly browned-about 15 min.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together the cottage/goat cheese blend, sage, 3 Tbl. parsley, and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large nonstick pan, heat 2 Tbl. olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring until translucent-5 min. Increase heat to medium-high heat and add the chard, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg. Cook, stirring until the chard is wilted and no liquid remains in the pan-5 to 10 min.

After you pull out the squash, reduce oven heat to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix 2 cups of pumpkin, 3/4 cup cream, 1/2 cup parmesan, 1 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg.

Spray a 13×9″ baking pan with cooking spray. Pour the 1/2 cup milk into the pan.

Here’s the assembly:

1. Put down 3 lasagna noodles.

2. Put down 1/3 of the cottage/goat cheese mix.

3. Put down 1/3 of the swiss chard/onion mix.

4. Put down 1/3 of the baked squash.

5. Put down 1/2 of the pumpkin sauce.

6. Sprinkle 1/3 of the fontina and 1/3 of the parmesan.

7. Put down 3 lasagna noodles.

8. Put down 1/3 of the cottage/goat cheese mix.

9. Put down 1/3 of the swiss chard/onion mix.

10. Put down 1/3 of the baked squash.

11. Put down 1/2 of the pumpkin sauce.

12. Sprinkle 1/3 of the fontina and 1/3 of the parmesan.

13. Put down 3 lasagna noodles.

14. Put down the last of the cottage/goat cheese mix.

15. Put down the last of the swiss chard/onion mix.

16. Put down the last of the baked squash.

17. Put down the last 3 lasagna noodles.

18. Combine the remaining 1 cup of canned pumpkin with the remaining 3/4 cup of heavy cream. Spread that over the noodles.

19. Cover the noodles with the remaining fontina and parmesan.

Cover the lasagna with a loose-fitting foil tent and bake 30 min. Remove the foil and sprinkle top with remaining parsley. Continue baking another 15 min. until the cheese is melted and top is golden brown.

Let sit for approx. 15-20 min. before serving so the lasagna plates nicely and doesn’t collapse into slop.

Sedimentary rock ain’t got nothin’ on these layers…am I right? #NerdAlert

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Because it’s just food porn at this point.

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Almost gone!

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