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Butternut Squash and Sausage Rollatini

(Serves 12)
Butternut Squash and Sausage Rollatini
(Half recipe shown here)

12 lasagna noodles
Olive oil for drizzling

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound Italian pork or chicken sausage
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons water
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 (12-ounce) package butternut squash puree, thawed
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
8 ounces shredded mozzarella, divided
1 cup chopped cooked kale
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg
Salt and pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg


Cooke the lasagna noodles in boiling salted water for half the time the package recommends.  Drain and toss with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent them from sticking together; set aside.

To make the sauce:
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in  a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the sausage; use a wooden spoon to break it up in the skillet.
Cook the sausage until golden brown, about 5-6 minutes, then transfer it to a paper-towel lined plate; set aside.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet over medium heat.
Add the onions.  Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits left in the bottom of the skillet.  Add 2 tablespoons of water and cook the onions until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes; cook 2 minutes.  Add the sausage back to the skillet along with the butternut squash puree and heavy cream.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir to combine all the sauce ingredients and set aside.

To make the filling:
Set aside about 1/2 cup of the shredded mozzarella and the 2 tablespoons of Parmesan for the topping.  In a bowl, combine the remaining mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan and all of the remaining filling ingredients; set aside.

To assemble and bake the rollatini:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Spread about 1 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.
Take about 1/3 cup of the ricotta filling and spread it evenly over each lasagna noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down into the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.  Spread the remaining sauce evenly over the top of the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the reserved mozzarella and  Parmesan over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the rollatini are lightly golden brown and bubbly. Set aside for 10 minutes and serve.
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A rich and creamy sauce of butternut squash puree and Italian sausage blankets lasagna noodles filled with a three-cheese filling with kale and fresh sage for a delightful autumn baked pasta dish.  Add this to your Thanksgiving menu as it is a great accompaniment to roast turkey.  To make this a vegetarian dish, simply replace the sausage with coarsely chopped mushrooms that have been lightly browned in some olive oil.
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