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Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

Guys, this one was a monster.

I have been wanting to create a macaroni and cheese lasagna recipe for a long time now. And full disclosure, this one still needs some tweaking. But, ohmygoodnessitwassogoooooood. Teetering between four and five elbows good. Gooey, crispy edges, so very many layers of flavor, oh yes. Amazing. Luscious. My taste buds are getting excited just writing about it.

Since we are smack-dab in the middle of the fall season, I wanted to add an autumnal bent to my recipe. I had some Beecher’s Marco Polo cheese on hand, so I added to that foundation with squash, prosciutto and sage. There were some missteps, but I am all about the learning process, so of course you’ll hear what worked and what didn’t for me, along with my suggestions to make this recipe even better than it started out.

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

First, gather your ingredients. Beecher’s Marco Polo is a lovely sharp white cheese with green and black peppercorns scattered about within it. If your local market doesn’t have it, you can order it direct from Beecher’s.

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

I went with acorn squash, but in the future would probably go with butternut instead. Peeling and slicing two acorn squash added some serious time to my cooking, and butternut would taste just as good in this lasagna.

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

I get my prosciutto from DeLaurenti in Pike Place Market, but you can use whatever prosciutto you can find. And you can order it from Amazon, as well.

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

Grab your squash. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and Pam a baking sheet. Peel and seed the squash, then cut into 1/4 inch slices. Mist or brush the slices with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoned salt and seasoned pepper, then lay in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until the squash is soft and beginning to brown.

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

While the squash is baking, shred and divide your cheeses. My Parmesan and mozzarella were already shredded, so I set them aside while I shredded the Marco Polo cheese. Once the Marco Polo was shredded, I divided my cheeses. One cup of Parmesan and three cups of Marco Polo were set aside for the macaroni and cheese. I then combined the remaining two cups of Marco Polo with the two cups of mozzarella, to be added as a cheese layer to the lasagna later.

In a large Pammed skillet over low heat, cook the prosciutto (single layer, do not crowd the pan) until crisped in batches, laying the crispy prosciutto on a paper towel to drain. (Yes, I am cooking prosciutto – all you prosciutto purists can either deal with it or stop reading right here.) It happens quickly, so keep a constant eye on your prosciutto.

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

To the same skillet (the less dishes to wash, the better!), add 1/4 cup of olive oil and heat over medium-high heat.

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

Pinch the sage leaves from their stem. Rinse and dry (make sure the leaves are completely dry!!!) each leaf. Once the oil is hot, gently and carefully drop in the sage leaves, being careful not to splatter yourself and making sure not to crowd the pan. Fry leaves until crisp – this is a very quick process (generally just a few seconds), so keep a close eye on your sage leaves once they hit the olive oil. Lay the fried sage leaves gently on a paper towel to drain once you remove them from the oil.

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

Allow the skillet to cool. Wipe out most of the oil from the skillet, then add the shallots and garlic to the skillet and sauté over medium heat until translucent, about three minutes. Add the ground turkey and cook until nicely browned, about 12 minutes. Once the turkey is browned, add the poultry seasoning, seasoned salt and seasoned pepper, and spinach. Cover the skillet and set aside (the spinach will begin to wilt).

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

In a large pot, cook your elbows for two minutes less than called for on the package directions. Drain and set aside.

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

In the same large pot, melt butter. Add flour and whisk, cooking over low heat (still whisking) for two minutes. Add milk and continue whisking. Cook over medium heat for five minutes, continually whisking. Remove from heat and add the Marco Polo and Parmesan cheeses. Stir until cheeses are melted, then season to taste with seasoned salt and seasoned pepper.

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cheese sauce, set aside. To the remaining sauce in the pot, add the cooked elbows and stir until everything is mixed and happy.

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

Put your oven down to 375 degrees. Pam a deep-dish lasagna pan (I used a 13×9 baking dish, but I ran out of space so I would highly recommend a deep-dish lasagna pan). Your layers, beginning at the bottom, will be: lasagna sheets, cheese sauce, squash, prosciutto, turkey/spinach mixture, macaroni and cheese, Marco Polo/mozzarella cheeses mixture, then repeat.

Begin by layering lasagna sheets in the bottom of the pan, then add a small amount of cheese sauce.

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

Layer the squash,

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

then the prosciutto,

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

then the ground turkey and spinach mixture,

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

then the macaroni and cheese,

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

and finally the Marco Polo and mozzarella cheese mixture.

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

If you have more room in your pan, repeat the layers in the same order as before. In my case, I saw that I was running out of room. So, after the cheeses layer I added an additional layer of squash, prosciutto, cheese sauce and cheeses. I will definitely be investing in a deep-dish lasagna pan before I make this again. Still, even as-is it turned out amazingly delicious.

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

Once the lasagna is assembled, pop it into your preheated 375 degree oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the top is a nice toasty golden color. Remove from the oven and allow the dish to sit for 15 minutes.

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

Looks good, right? But make sure you wait the full 15 minutes after it comes out of the oven. It allows all the flavors and layers to get comfy and settled in, so that you don’t cut into a big pile of goo instead of the nice firm lasagna that you’re craving.

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

Don’t forget to place a fried sage leaf atop each piece before you serve your lasagna. Since this was the main course of our little dinner party (yes, I am a bit off my rocker trying a newly created recipe on all of my friends…), here’s a nice shot of everyone about to nosh.

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

We kept it simple and served it with an arugula salad and garlic bread – because there weren’t enough carbs in the lasagna, of course. I give it a solid four elbows up, and am guessing it’ll hit five once I try this in a deep-dish pan.

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

 And with all that, here is my recipe.

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

Just kidding, HERE is my recipe.

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Mac and Cheese, Comfort Food, Lasagna
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 to 16
 
Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage
Ingredients
  • No-boil lasagna sheets
  • 8 ounces prosciutto
  • 1 bunch fresh sage (about 16 leaves)
  • 2 acorn squash (butternut will work as well)
  • 5 cups Beecher's Marco Polo cheese (or extra sharp white cheddar), shredded
  • 2 cups mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces elbow pasta
  • 4 cups fat-free milk
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned pepper
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1¼ pounds ground turkey
  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and Pam a baking sheet.
  2. Peel and seed squash, then cut into ¼ inch slices. Mist or brush slices with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoned salt and seasoned pepper, then lay in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes or until squash is soft and beginning to brown.
  3. While squash is baking, shred and divide cheeses. Set aside one cup of Parmesan and three cups of Marco Polo for the macaroni and cheese. Combine remaining two cups Marco Polo with two cups of mozzarella, to be added as a cheese layer to the lasagna later.
  4. In a large Pammed skillet over low heat, cook prosciutto (single layer, do not crowd the pan) until crisped in batches, laying the crispy prosciutto on a paper towel to drain. It happens quickly, so keep a constant eye on your prosciutto.
  5. To the same skillet, add ¼ cup olive oil and heat over medium-high heat.
  6. Pinch sage leaves from stems. Rinse and dry (make sure the leaves are completely dry!!!) each leaf. Once the oil is hot, gently and carefully drop in the sage leaves, being careful not to splatter yourself and making sure not to crowd the pan. Fry leaves until crisp - this is a very quick process (generally just a few seconds). Lay fried sage leaves on a paper towel to drain.
  7. Allow the skillet to cool. Wipe out most of the oil from the skillet, then add shallots and garlic and sauté over medium heat until translucent, about three minutes. Add ground turkey and cook until nicely browned, about 12 minutes. Once turkey is browned, add poultry seasoning, seasoned salt and seasoned pepper, and spinach. Cover skillet and set aside.
  8. In a large pot, cook elbows for two minutes less than called for on package directions. Drain and set aside.
  9. In the same large pot, melt butter. Add flour and whisk, cooking over low heat (still whisking) for two minutes. Add milk and continue whisking. Cook over medium heat for five minutes, continually whisking. Remove from heat and add Marco Polo and Parmesan cheeses. Stir until cheeses are melted, then season to taste with seasoned salt and seasoned pepper.
  10. Reserve 1½ cups of the cheese sauce, set aside. To the remaining sauce, add cooked elbows and stir.
  11. Put oven down to 375 degrees. Pam a deep-dish lasagna pan (I used a 13x9 baking dish, but I ran out of space so I would highly recommend a deep-dish lasagna pan). Your layers, beginning at the bottom, will be: lasagna sheets, cheese sauce, squash, prosciutto, turkey/spinach mixture, macaroni and cheese, Marco Polo/mozzarella cheeses mixture, then repeat.
  12. Begin by layering lasagna sheets in the bottom of the pan, then add a small amount of cheese sauce. Layer squash, then prosciutto, then ground turkey and spinach mixture, then macaroni and cheese, and finally the Marco Polo and mozzarella cheese mixture. If you have more room in your pan, repeat the layers in the same order as before.
  13. Once lasagna is assembled, bake for 45 minutes.
  14. Remove from oven and allow the dish to sit for 15 minutes.
  15. When plating, top each piece with a fried sage leaf for garnish.
  16. Serve and scarf down immediately!

Enjoy!

Autumn Mac & Cheese Lasagna with Prosciutto & Crispy Sage - Mac & Cheese Chick

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