Not Up for a Big Thanksgiving Turkey? Lasagna Is the Answer
Lasagna at Thanksgiving is a longtime Italian-American tradition. It just might become yours, too.
Turkey and Butternut Squash Lasagna with Crispy Sage
Each layer of this next-level lasagna leans on Thanksgiving leftovers in a smart way to bring big flavor to the table. Leftover sautéed mushrooms jazz up the creamy béchamel, while mashed butternut squash provides a smooth contrast to the hearty turkey filling flavored with leftover gravy and Parmesan, and pan-fried sage leaves add an elegant twist. “I love Thanksgiving leftovers, so I still want my leftovers dishes to embody those Thanksgiving flavors,” says chef Sara Grueneberg, who shared this recipe. “I call for roasted butternut squash, but if you make a great roasted sweet potato dish for the big event, those leftovers would be perfect in this lasagna.”
Three-Cheese Lasagna with Roasted Red Peppers and Mushrooms
To create a vegetarian lasagna that’s packed with flavor (rather than watery and bland), start by roasting mushrooms and red peppers with a quick garlic-infused oil. While the vegetables are cooking, stir together a quick ricotta filling with plently of Parmesan for extra umami. Using no-boil lasagna noodles and good-quality store-bought tomato sauce cut down on cook time without sacrificing taste.Related: More Lasagna Recipes
Woven Lasagna with Prosciutto and Fresh Spinach Sauce
Weaving the pasta sheets in this lasagna allows the outer pieces to bubble and crisp in the oven around the creamy, rustic prosciutto-ricotta filling. Don’t skip the fresh pasta sheets; their length and texture are key to weaving together this show-stopping dish.To ensure that the pasta dough yields two long, even sheets, this recipe makes a bit of extra dough to allow for generous trimming. Reroll the scraps and cut into enough fresh noodles for a light meal for two. The lasagna needs to set up in the refrigerator for at least six hours and up to a day; the assembled lasagna may be frozen and thawed in the fridge before slicing and roasting. The spinach may be blanched in the pasta water and the spinach sauce may be made up to a day ahead. Once the lasagna has chilled, it takes mere minutes to heat and serve this stunning, cover-worthy recipe, making it ideal for a dinner party. For a version without prosciutto, see Note.
Cheesy Baked Pasta with Radicchio
A splash of red wine vinegar balances the richness of this cheesy pasta and magnifies the pink color of the onions and radicchio. Omit the prosciutto to make this a vegetarian main dish.
Crab Macaroni Gratin
My mid-December birthday marks the start of Dungeness crab season in the Pacific Northwest. Perhaps I’m biased, but in my opinion, Dungeness is the tastiest crab there is, and worth celebrating in and of itself. Several years ago, I started inviting friends over under the guise of a birthday party, but really, it’s a celebration of the season, the past year, and, yes, the fresh catch of the best crab on the planet.My guest list includes too many friends to fit around my dining table, so we’re packed like sardines, snug in the candlelit room with magnums of Champagne and piles of steaming whole crabs to be cracked and dipped in melted butter. It’s messy and a bit chaotic, but fancy at the same time. I’d have it no other way.I like to choose a theme for the annual menu, usually inspired by a travel experience I had that year. Last year I visited one of my favorite cities, New Orleans, not once but twice, so it seemed fitting to laissez les bons temps rouler come December. The crab was cooked with Creole seasonings in the boil, classic and delicious, but the surprise hit was this macaroni au gratin served with it.To make it, I channeled iconic restaurants like Galatoire’s, Clancy’s, and Brigtsen’s—some of my favorites to visit when I’m in the Big Easy. A glorious amount of crabmeat baked with shell-shaped pasta in a three-cheese cream sauce —tangy white Cheddar, nutty Gruyère, and sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano—is no-joke delicious, and trés riche. That’s where the Champagne comes in. The tingly bubbles give your palate an ultrasonic scrub between each creamy, cheesy, blissful bite. Blanc de blancs, or Chardonnay-based Champagnes, are particularly good here. They can be saline like shellfish, complex like great cheeses, and bring enough acidity to play counterpoint to both.This recipe is not cheap, but it is easy. Once you shred the cheese, the rest is simple assembly. I buy the crabmeat picked, because, as I’m told by my fishmonger, it averages out to be about the same price as cooking whole crabs and picking the meat yourself, and it saves precious time. If you don’t have access to Dungeness, try this with your local variety, or whatever type of crab you can get your hands on.