Fall has officially arrived in D.C. Last week’s unseasonable heat and humidity has broken and left in its place brisk autumn air. I finally took the tags off my new fall coat, only to put it in the closet and dig out my winter jacket for Sunday night’s trip out to Mount Vernon for a wine festival and tour of the historic estate. The season is here for lasagna, pot pie, chili and crock pots.
In anticipation, I made this very autumnal lasagna on Saturday night. With pumpkin, roasted chestnuts and cranberries, it had all the flavors of fall. In fact it is pretty much the Thanksgiving Day spread in lasagna form. I would recommend it as an alternative for ovens too small to cook a turkey, or chefs hesitant about inserting their hand up a bird. I served it with the perfect fall salad topped with crisp apples, pecans, goat cheese and a maple vinaigrette. It was followed up with a very decadent fall dessert, but for that you will just have to stay tuned!
Autumn Turkey & Pumpkin Lasagna
Adapted from Bitchin’ Camero
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 package (20 oz) ground turkey
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 7 oz. roasted chestnuts, chopped (These are usually jarred- Whole Foods carries them, although not necessarily with the rest of their nuts)
- 1.5 tbsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp. fresh sage leaves, cut up
- 1 (15 oz) can pureed pumpkin (NOT Pumpkin Pie filling)
- 8 oz. ricotta cheese
- 1 tsp. ground cardamom
- 9 pieces whole wheat lasagna, cooked (do not use no boil lasagna. There isn’t enough moisture in this lasagna for them to work. I know this from trial and error)
- 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 5 sage leaves for garnish
1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for several minutes. Add the turkey. Once it’s nearly cooked through, add the cranberries, apricots, and paprika. Continue to saute for another 5-10 minutes, then stir in the chestnuts and sage leaves. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. While the turkey is cooking, combine the pureed pumpkin with the ricotta cheese and cardamom. Set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 375° and begin to assemble your lasagna. Start with a layer of lasagna noodles, then turkey, then pumpkin. Repeat. When you’ve used up all of your turkey, pumpkin and noodles, top the lasagna with mozzarella cheese and place a few sage leaves on top.
4. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until the cheese is brown and the lasagna is bubbly.