I love pumpkin, to start with – be it as a pie, with pasta, soup, or as a pumpkin-mint risotto (the recipe is on the list, should come soon). It’s one of these perfect fall/winter vegetables for me. I decided to give a try to a pumpkin lasagne today, read about and around a bit and finally came up with the following, which turned out quite well. I made a vegetarian version, but I suppose that adding minced meat to the pumpkin-tomato sauce comes out well, too. Recipe is for two.
Pumpkin (preferrably Hokaido), 500g
Garlic, two cloves
Tomato puree, 100g
Butter, 1 Ts
Flour, 1 Ts
Milk, 250 ml
Lasagne noodles, 15
Parmesan cheese, grated, 100g
Chop the onions and the garlic, peel the pumpkin and cut in in small cubes (~0,5 cm). Dilute the tomato puree in about two cups of warm water. In a large pan, heat the olive oil, then add onions and garlic. Stir until slightly golden, then add the pumpkin and fry at medium heat for a couple of minutes. (If you wanted to add minced meat, this would be the moment to do so). Add the tomato puree and spices. Boil at medium heat for a couple of minutes. The pumpkin won’t have to be completely cooked as the lasagne will go into the oven afterwards. The sauce should be relatively liquid as it will be needed to cook the lasagne noodles as well. Set aside.
For some reasons, opinion is that Bechamel sauce always goes wrong. Doesn’t have to, you just must keep stirring. In a small pot, melt the butter at medium heat, then slowly add the flour and keep stiring vigourosly. Add the milk in small quantities while stirring constantly, letting the sauce simmer at low heat. Add the nutmeg.
Now there is a whole discussion whether the lasagne noodles should be boiled before or not. I do boil them for two to three minutes, just because the lasagne takes less time in the oven afterwards. Put a good amount of oil in the water to avoid that the noodles stick together and boil only the quantity that you need for one layer. While layering your lasagne, put in the next lot, and so on.
Start with some tomato sauce for the bottom of the pan (I used a non-sticky one, if you are using a glass or ceramic one, oil/butter it to avoid your lasagne getting stuck to the bottom). Just put in sauce, no pumpkin cubes at the bottom, and use quite a lot of sauce, especially if like me you are using a gas oven with bottom heat. Otherwise the noodles will burn. Cover with a layer of tomato-pumpkin sauce, then alternate with Bechamel sauce. Finish off with tomato-pumpkin sauce, then cover with cheese and some butter flakes. Set the oven at medium heat, the lasagne will need about 30 minutes to be done. If the cheese risks to burn, cover with tin foil.