Autumn Lasagna with Creamy, Butternut Squash and Roasted Garlic Sauce, Seasoned Ground Turkey, Sage, Spinach and Mozzarella Cheese

(Serves about 10-12)

Ingredients:

Olive oil for drizzling
1 ¼ lb. ground turkey
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons chopped, fresh sage leaves
12 lasagna noodles, cooked
Creamy Butternut Squash and Roasted Garlic Sauce (recipe below)
4 cups fresh, baby spinach leaves
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preparation:

-Preheat the oven to 350, and have a 12”x10”x2” (roughly) baking dish on hand.

-Place a large, non-stick saute pan over medium-high heat, and add about 2 tablespoons worth of olive to the pan; once the oil gets hot, add the ground turkey into the pan, and break up the meat with a spatula or spoon; next, add in the Italian seasoning, the salt, pepper and the garlic, and stir to incorporate; cook the turkey for a few minutes until cooked through and no longer pink; remove from heat, and set aside to slightly cool.

-To assemble the lasagna, begin by adding about 1 cup of the Butternut Squash Sauce to the bottom of the baking dish; next, add 4 of the cooked lasagna noodles over the sauce, and then add another 2 cups of the sauce over top of the noodles; next, add about half of the cooked, ground turkey, followed by 2 cups of the baby spinach leaves, and drizzle lightly with  some olive oil; next, sprinkle over about 1 cup worth of the mozzarella cheese; repeat the layering process by once again adding 4 lasagna noodles, 2 cups of sauce, the remainder of the ground turkey and the remaining 2 cups of baby spinach leaves, along with a drizzle of olive oil and another sprinkle of about 1 cup worth of the cheese; finish the lasagna by adding the remaining 4 lasagna noodles, and the remaining sauce over top; smooth out the sauce over the noodles, and finish the by sprinkling the remaining 2 cups of mozzarella cheese over the top; add the remaining ½ teaspoon of Italian seasoning over the cheese, and place the lasagna into the 350 degree oven to bake for roughy 30-35 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and lightly golden; serve while hot.

Creamy, Butternut Squash and Roasted Garlic Sauce ingredients:

3 heads garlic, tops cut off
• Olive oil for drizzling
3 teaspoons salt, plus a pinch, divided use
4 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and cubed (I used 4, 1lb. packages pre-cut squash)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chicken stock, warm
2 cups half and half, warm
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

(*This sauce can be made ahead if desired, and kept refrigerated.)

Preparation:

-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

-Drizzle a little olive oil over the 3 heads of garlic, and sprinkle a couple of pinches of salt over top, as well; wrap each head of garlic tightly in foil, and place the heads directly onto the rack of the oven (on the side) to roast; once the garlic heads have roasted for about 10 minutes, toss together the cubed butternut squash with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the black pepper; turn the squash out onto the lined baking sheet, and place it into the oven next to the garlic heads, to roast along side for about 30-35 minutes, or until the squash is very tender (the total roasting time for the garlic will end up being about 40-45 minutes); once the squash is tender, remove from the oven, along with the heads of garlic, and allow the squash and garlic heads to cool slightly, so they can be handled; once slightly cooled, squeeze the cloves of garlic from the whole heads, and mash lightly with a fork (they should be very tender and sweet), and set aside; next, add about 1/3 of the roasted squash into the bowl of a food processor (you will work in about 3 batches), and process with about 1/3 of the roasted garlic, until smooth and pureed; turn the processed squash/garlic into a large pot, and repeat the pureeing process with the remaining squash/garlic and turn that out into the pot once pureed, as well.

-Place the pot with the pureed squash/garlic onto low heat, and add in the warm chicken stock and the warm half and half, and carefully whisk or stir to completely incorporate; next, add in the mascarpone cheese, the Parmesan and the remaining 3 teaspoons of salt, and once again stir/whisk to combine, until the mascarpone and Parmesan are blended in completely; remove the sauce from the heat and set aside until ready to use for the lasagna. (If making ahead, cool the sauce completely, and refrigerate until ready to assemble the lasagna, at which time you can gently re-heat it stove-top.)