Raise your hand if you’re a lover of lasagna. Yeah. Me too. Any recipe that brings together pasta and cheese and rich sauce is pretty much guaranteed to be a hit in our house. I don’t typically make lasagna very often, though. I don’t know why I drag my feet on it; it just seems like a complicated dish when really it isn’t so bad. I will say that in spite of my lasagna reservations, I have made lasagna rollups several times this season. Truthfully, I don’t think they’re any less complicated than a traditional lasagna. They are, however, easier to serve and fun to eat.
This particular version incorporates several flavor profiles: nutty butternut squash, fresh kale and savory sausage. I opt for whole wheat lasagna noodles to maximize nutritional content but I also find that I prefer the hearty taste of whole wheat pastas.
Another bonus of this meal is that kids love it, even though it’s packed with nutrients from the kale and butternut squash. They’ll never know they’re eating veggies!
These are fabulous served with a green salad and thick slices of crusty bread–or as a meal on their own. This recipe is also a great choice for nights when you’ll need a make ahead meal because you can assemble and freeze the roll-ups and then thaw and heat when you need them. It’s also a perfect option for taking a meal to a friend who just had a baby or who is recovering after surgery.
- 1 medium-sized butternut squash
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb. uncooked sausage (I use chicken sausage) decased
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 16 oz package cottage cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 bunch of fresh Lacinato kale, washed and trimmed to bite-size pieces
- 2 teaspoons dry basil
- 1 13.25 oz box of lasagna noodles (I used whole wheat)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 16 oz. package cheese (mozzarella or Fontina), shredded and separated
- Parsley, optional for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400º. Cut and peel the butternut squash. Dice it into 1-inch pieces. Spread it into a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast in preheated oven for approximately thirty minutes, or until tender. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Cook lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling, salted water according to package directions. Set aside on sheets of foil.
- Meanwhile, brown sausage in a skillet over medium heat. Drain if necessary. Add onion and cook until onion is translucent. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine cottage cheese, eggs, kale, Parmesan and basil. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Add sausage/onion mix and roasted butternut squash. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk well. Cook for about a minute, until mixture is golden brown. Whisk in milk and stir constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 3-4 minutes, until mixture is thickened. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese until melted and combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Lower oven heat to 375º. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan. Spread a small amount of the sauce over the bottom of the pan. Working with one noodle at a time, spoon filling at one end and spread it along the length of the noodle, stopping approximately two inches before the opposite end. Roll the noodle up, attempting to keep the filling from falling out. Place the filled roll-up seam side down in prepared pan. Continue until all of the noodles have been filled. Spoon remaining sauce over the top of the roll-ups and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 375º for approximately forty minutes. Remove foil and bake 10-15 minutes more, until cheese is golden brown.Allow roll-ups to cool in the pan for approximately ten minutes before serving. Sprinkle with chopped parsley if desired.
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