Rachael Ray Made a Thanksgiving-Inspired Lasagna and It’s Perfection
Like many of us, Rachael Ray is (wisely) planning on hosting a smaller-scale Thanksgiving this year. So with that in mind, she's been inviting her Rachael Ray Show viewers and celebrity chef friends—including Top Chef judge Gail Simmons, Cake Boss Buddy Valastro and more—into her home virtually to dream up new ways to make the holiday special as part of her "12 Days of Thanksgiving."
So far, we've learned how to make pumpkin blondies in a multicooker, sweet-and-savory maple-bacon bread pudding, whiskey whipped cream and apple cider in edible apple cups. But quite possibly the most brilliant recipe to date is the epitome of comfort food—and might just replace the turkey and cranberries on our Thanksgiving table. Introducing: The Giving Thanks Lasagna.
Admittedly, this serves-six dish is a labor of love, taking several steps and an hour to bake. The results look and sound more than worth it, though. Here's how it works…
"I started by roasting one butternut squash," Ray explains. "I spiced it with smoked cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper always, I also added a little smoked paprika and a little allspice."
Don't feel like roasting squash from scratch? Two cans of pumpkin puree work almost just as well, Ray says.
To complete the first sauce, mash up that squash in a bowl, then use an immersion blender to combine it with a simmered mix of ½ cup of cream, 1 cup of stock, two shallots or one onion and a little garlic. For sauce number two, whisk up a basic white sauce in a skillet. (She offers full instructions for how to do this, of course!)
Then it's time for the meat: Brown 1 pound of ground turkey—white and dark—and season it with the same poultry seasoning Ray swears by for her sheet pan Thanksgiving dinner that caught our eye last week: Bell's ($13.15 for three 1-ounce packets, Amazon). Invite the classic Thanksgiving herbs of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme to the turkey party. Mix this all with a combo of ½ cup fresh cranberries and ½ cup water that's been simmered together into a saucy consistency.
For the cheese layer, fold together 3 cups of ricotta, two eggs, 1 cup of drained frozen spinach and blanched kale, nutmeg, salt and white pepper.
Now it's time to assemble in your 9 x 13-inch casserole dish! Start with a layer of white sauce, stack on cooked lasagna noodles or flat-sheet square pasta and carefully spread on half of the pumpkin sauce. Then comes the next layer of lasagna sheets, the entire ricotta blend, all of the turkey-cranberry mixture, one more layer of pasta (whew!), the rest of the squash sauce, the rest of the white sauce and a healthy topping of shredded mozzarella cheese. All that's left to do now is pour a glass of wine to toast to your small-scale Thanksgiving feast brilliance while this bakes, then slice and serve!
"I don't know what to say, except this is really pretty," Ray concludes after pulling her casserole out of the oven and plating a slice.
We agree, as is the fact that our fridge won't be full of leftovers for days on end. Want to give this a try yourself—on the holiday or otherwise? Get the recipe for the Giving Thanks Lasagna here.