“By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the National Pasta Association and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”
Pumpkin… and crab??
Before you think I’ve gone absolutely crazy: just hear me out.
This dish is seriously one of the best things I’ve ever made. And I’m super proud of myself because I totally made the whole thing up on the go. I’ve been seeing pumpkin cream sauce with pasta all over the internets lately, and I was determined to try it for myself. Originally I was going to make kale stuffed shells with pumpkin sauce but I couldn’t find shells big enough, so I switched to my beloved lasagna rolls.
I also didn’t originally plan to have crab meat in this recipe, but as I was driving home from work I suddenly got a craving for seafood and randomly stopped at Whole Foods and bought a big thing of fresh lump crab meat. This is what happens when your seafood-hating boyfriend goes out of town. Seafood is added to everything.
I was a little nervous to add $15 crab meat to pumpkin sauce since I’ve never tasted the two together before. But I am SO glad I did. This was also my first time making pumpkin sauce, and at first I was pretty apprehensive. Pumpkin by itself is pretty blah, but once you add the basil, onion, garlic, red pepper and all the other seasonings (plus cheese and cream…) it totally transforms it into something out of this world.
While I was making this dish, I texted both of my parents:
“Just put crab and kale lasagna rolls with a creamy pumpkin sauce in the oven… think it’ll turn out?”
“Do you need any help eating it??”
It smelled heavenly while baking and after my first bite, I called my mom said “You have to come over and help me eat this.” Both of my parents were at my apartment within thirty minutes. They both said they felt like they just ate a gourmet meal. (haha! that made me feel really good!)
To make these lasagna rolls, I sauteed kale and onion in some olive oil until caramelized. Then I combined that with ricotta, parmesan and fresh lump crab meat and used this mixture inside rolled up lasagna noodles.
The pumpkin cream sauce starts out with olive oil, garlic, tomato paste, then pureed pumpkin, half and half, milk, and whole bunch of spices including onion, garlic, parsley, sage, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. This is poured over the lasagna rolls and topped with mozzarella cheese.
Is your mouth watering yet? Don’t let the pumpkin scare you. When combined with spices, cheese and milk, it totally just tastes like any other squash.
To celebrate National Pasta Month, The Recipe Redux is hosting a contest sponsored by the National Pasta Association called “Pasta Fits”.
“Pasta is the perfect foundation for a healthy meal – it boasts energy, satisfies hunger, and pairs with vegetables and lean proteins to create delicious meals. In honor of October as National Pasta Month, the Pasta Fits Campaign would like find out what pasta recipe fits into your healthy lifestyle and diet.”
Lasagna rolls ups are another one of my favorite ways to enjoy pasta. It’s an easy way to practice portion control. Instead of serving up yourself a giant portion of lasagna, each individual roll is easy to portion out. Plus, you can stuff and top them with just about anything– seafood, beef, chicken, spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, kale, marinara, alfredo, pesto, the list goes on!
Pasta is not only affordable (at only $1 a box) it’s tasty, filling, and when combined with a lean protein (like lump crab!) it can be a smart choice. Most pasta can be cooked in under ten minutes, making it a quick meal options. Plus, with SO many options with shapes and recipes, pasta is so versatile and never gets boring.
Here’s the recipe! Enjoy!
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ yellow onion, chopped
- 1 small head of kale, rinsed and chopped
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 10 lasagna noodles
- 15oz ricotta cheese
- ½ cup parmesan
- 1 egg
- Salt and pepper
- 8oz fresh steamed crab meat
- 8 oz shredded mozzarella
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 3 cups pumpkin puree
- ½ cup half and half
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 1 ½ tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 ½ tsp basil
- Black pepper, to taste
- ¼ tsp salt + more to taste
- ½ tsp parsley
- ¼ tsp sage
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large pan, heat the 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion, kale, and garlic. Sautee until the onions have caramelized and kale has wilted. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, boil 10 lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Return the large pan to medium heat and add the 1 tsp of olive oil, 2 Tbsp of minced garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Add the 2 Tbsp of tomato paste, cook for an additional minute.
- Add the pumpkin, half and half, milk, onion powder, garlic powder, basil, salt and pepper, parsley, and sage. Stir and let simmer a few minutes.
- Stir in the ½ cup of parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.
- Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper according to taste.
- To the bowl with the kale and onion mixture, add the ricotta, ½ cup parmesan, egg, crab meat and salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- To assemble: add one cup of sauce to the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
- Add a heaping spoonful of the ricotta crab mixture to a lasagna noodle and roll. Place seam side down in the dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.
- Pour the rest of the pumpkin sauce over the noodles, top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Hi! I’m Emily, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and self-taught intuitive chef. I firmly believe that cooking is the simplest and most important step we can take to improve our minds and bodies and build healthier communities. Join me and let’s bring food back to the kitchen!