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Half Baked Harvest’s Tieghan Gerard knows comfort food—and her second cookbook, Half Baked Harvest: Super Simple, is chock-full of such recipes. The twist: They can all be pulled off on even the busiest of days. Before the book officially launches on October 29, we’re giving you a sneak peek at a few of her favorite dishes.

The first indelible marker of autumn is the onslaught of pumpkins at every grocery store, farmers’ market, and Starbucks. Tieghan Gerard may be guilty of playing into this, but her go-to method of cooking with the seasonal favorite is far from cliché (no pies or lattes here). It involves lasagna. 

“From the moment I put the dish down, my friends are huddled around the table breathing in that wonderful pumpkin and sage aroma,” she says. “Everyone is ready to tuck in!” It’s easy to see why the recipe, which features layers of melted Fontina and aromatic basil and nutmeg, is such a hit at dinner parties: It’s hearty, shareable, and requires almost no hands-on prep. Gerard’s trick? Using no-boil pasta and stacking the layers with a velvety pumpkin sauce, so that as the whole thing bakes, the noodles soften and the sauce thickens. She can let it be and concern herself with other hostess duties, like mixing a signature cocktail and prepping a killer playlist. Being that we’re in the thick of fall get-togethers, it’s always handy to have another back-pocket recipe available, and this heartwarming meal is a definite contender.

Pumpkin and Sage Lasagna 

Serves 8 to 10 Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 55 minutes

The Ingredients

  • 2 tsp olive oil, plus more for greasing
  • 1 14-oz can pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tsp dried oregano 
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 16 oz whole-milk ricotta 
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves, plus 8 whole leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley 
  • 1 12-oz box no-boil lasagna
  • 1 12-oz jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  • 3 cups shredded Fontina
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 12 to 16 pieces thinly sliced pepperoni (optional)

The Recipe 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, milk, oregano, basil, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. In a separate medium bowl, combine the ricotta, garlic, chopped sage, and parsley, then season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Spread a quarter of the pumpkin sauce (about 1 cup) in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Add 3 or 4 lasagna sheets, breaking them as needed to fit. It’s okay if they don’t fully cover the sauce. Layer on half of the ricotta mixture, half of the red peppers, then 1 cup of Fontina. Add another quarter of the pumpkin sauce, and place 3 or 4 lasagna noodles on top. Layer on the remaining ricotta mixture, the remaining red peppers, 1 cup of Fontina, and then another quarter of the pumpkin sauce. Add the remaining lasagna and the remaining pumpkin sauce. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of Fontina on top, then the Parmesan. Top with pepperoni, if using.
  4. In a small bowl, toss the whole sage leaves in 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Arrange on top of the lasagna. 
  5. Cover the lasagna with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Increase the oven temp to 425 degrees, remove the foil, and bake until the cheese is bubbling, about 10 minutes more. Let the lasagna stand 10 minutes. Serve. Store any leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days. 

Note: If you want to prepare ahead of time, prep the lasagna through step 3 up to two days before serving, then cover it with foil and keep in the fridge. Allow it to sit at room temperature while the oven preheats, then pick up with step 4. 

Reprinted from Half Baked Harvest: Super Simple. Copyright © 2019 by Tieghan Gerard. Photographs copyright © 2019 by Tieghan Gerard. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

See more of Half Baked Harvest’s favorite recipes: If You Have 30 Minutes, You Can Make This Butternut Squash Pizza Make This Grown-Up Version of Boxed Mac and Cheese Shells ASAP Half Baked Harvest’s Tieghan Gerard Makes This One-Pot Recipe on Repeat