Cheese & Spinach Pasta Rolls with a Parmesan Butternut Squash Sauce

Oh Yum. I found this recipe on skinnytaste.com (via Pinterest) and knew I had to try it, pronto. I am a HUGE fan of butternut squash, and since fall is here in full force now I figured what better time to have some? This has all the elements of a perfect meal – lots of cheese, spinach, pasta, and butternut. We ended up taking this to our friends’ house for the evening and it traveled really well, so it would be a great meal to take to a new mom as well. 

For the Butternut Parmesan Sauce:

1lb butternut, peeled & diced

Olive oil

1/4 cup shallots, very finely chopped

Crushed garlic (I used 2 tsps)

2 1/2 tbsp grated fresh parmesan cheese (it is very important to use FRESH parmesan as opposed to the crumbly stuff you can buy in a tub)

salt & pepper

For the Lasagna:

12 lasagna noodles, cooked al dente (don’t cook too much or they’ll be very mushy), and dried out a little

10oz package frozen chopped spinach

15oz ricotta cheese (the recipe called for nonfat, but I just can’t do nonfat cheese!!)

1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese (I added more than 1/2 a cup!)

1 large egg

salt & pepper

9 tbsp shredded Italian cheese (usually a blend of mozzarella, parmesan, etc)

– Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the diced butternut and cook until soft. My cubes were fairly small but they still took a good 20-25 minutes to soften. While the butternut is cooking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and sautee the shallots and garlic until soft in olive oil and set aside. Remove the butternut with a slotted spoon, but keep the water to one side to thin out the sauce once it’s pureed. 

Puree the butternut in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth, adding some of the reserved water to thin it out some. Go for the consistency of a good tomato/marinara sauce, like what you would put in lasagna or on top of stuffed shells. 

Mix the butternut and the shallots/garlic, season with salt and pepper and if you need to, add some more of that water. Stir in 2 1/2 tbsp parmesan cheese until melted. Ladle about 1/2 a cup of the sauce into the bottom of an ovenproof dish (9X12) and spread it out. Combine the spinach (thawed and most of the water squeezed out), ricotta, parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. 

On a piece of wax paper lay out a lasagna noodle and spread a heaped spoonful or two of the spinach/cheese mixture on top. I managed to get 12 rolls with some filling to spare, so you just have to eyeball it. Roll up carefully and place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the rest of the noodles. 

Ladle the rest of the sauce over the rolls, and pile up the Italian cheese on top. Cover with foil (I forgot this step, but it still turned out well!) and bake for about 30-40 minutes until cheese is golden and bubbly. 

 

 

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Cheese & Spinach Pasta Rolls with a Parmesan Butternut Squash Sauce

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