The Autumn Harvest
This incredible fall dish was inspired by the Tortelli di Mele at Pasta da Pulcinella where soft ravioli rounds are filled with tart Granny Smith apples, savory sausage, tangy Italian cheese and smothered in a rich brown butter and sage sauce. Their ravioli is to die for and this lasagna which combines those same flavors with that of sweet roasted butternut squash is positively epic. I entered this recipe in the August Briggs Winery recipe challenge last fall, pairing it with their Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and it was runner up in the competition! So I can honestly say it’s an award-winning recipe. Unlike my sage pesto chicken and butternut squash lasagna, which I created as a shortcut version of this and comes together effortlessly and quickly, this epic fall harvest lasagna takes some time to artfully craft. But the end result is well worth it! I don’t make this amazing dish often enough but when I do, I prepare the individual components over a period of a few days and then just throw them together on the day I bake it. Alternatively, if you love Tortelli de Mele as much as I do, you can just toss the savory sausage and apple filling with your favorite pasta, sage pesto or brown butter sauce, and go!
Suggested Wine Pairings
The sweet and savory flavors in this dish call for a versatile wine with some structure and bright acidity. Try a Nebbiolo-based Barbaresco or Barolo or a Valpolicella Superiore. A Pinot Noir, particularly a fuller bodied style, would also be an excellent choice. The subtle earthiness and spice emphasize the sausage and sage, while the wine’s fruit forward characteristics will compliment the butternut squash. A rich body is necessary to stand up to the blend of cheeses. If you prefer white wines, look for a full-bodied, creamy Chardonnay or aromatic Viognier.