Roasted Pumpkin Lasagna with Red Chard and Fried Sage Bechamel (with Homemade Pumpkin Puree)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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This recipe requires a few steps but all are pretty easy & the result is an impressive crowd pleaser.  I roasted a couple of pumpkins myself but you could use canned pumpkin with little change in the result.  The only real difference is that canned pumpkin doesn’t come with seeds & I am going to post a roasted pumpkin seed recipe next & they are SO FRIGGING YUMMY – you will definitely be missing out if you do not try them.

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Roasted Pumpkin Lasagna with Red Chard and Fried Sage Bechamel (with Homemade Pumpkin Puree)

INGREDIENTS

1/2 – 1 lb lasagna noodles (I used about 10-12 noodles)

3 cups pumpkin puree (recipe for homemade is below)

16 oz ricotta cheese

1 bunch red chard (or rainbow or green chard or kale) – thick ribs cut out

1-2 TBS crushed red pepper (optional)

1+ cups grated Parmesan

1+ cups grated mozzarella

S&P

for the bechamel

4 cups milk (I used almond milk)

7 TBS butter

6 TBS flour

1 large bunch of fresh sage

Pinch of nutmeg

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cook the lasagna noodles for about half the time recommended for them to be al dente and – being sure to reserve the boiling water – scoop them out & run cold water over them in a colander.  Maybe toss with a touch of olive oil to be sure they don’t get sticky.

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Plunge the greens you are using into the hot water & let them sit 2-3 minutes.  Drain & chop them & set aside.

Melt 1 TBS of the butter in a small saute pan & fry the sage leaves for about 1 minute of med-high heat.  Do not brown it.  Drain the sage on a paper towel & set aside.

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Melt the remaining 6 TBS butter in the same pan in which you fried the sage (to take advantage of all the lovely sage flavor) & then transfer it into a stock pot large enough to hold 5 cups of milk.

Set the heat at med-low & whisk in the flour.  Keep whisking until the mixture smells nutty & takes on the color of light sand – about 6-7 minutes.

Meanwhile – in another pot – warm the milk but do not boil it.  Add the milk to the flour & butter roux – one cup at a time – and whisk until smooth & thick.  Reserve a few sage leaves for garnish & then crumble the rest into the bechamel.  Bring to a boil – whisking the entire time.  In 5-10 minutes – remove from heat, add some S&P and the nutmeg & set aside.

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To make assembly easier – I blended the ricotta & pumpkin puree in my food processor.  This isn’t necessary but ricotta tends to be thick & hard to spread so blending it with the puree makes spreading easier & assures an even distribution.

Treat a small lasagna pan with cooking spray & assemble the lasagna.  Put 1/4 of the sage bechamel in the bottom of the pan & top with a layer of noodles.  Layer 1/2 of the ricotta & pumpkin & top with 1/2 of the greens & a sprinkling of crushed red pepper.  Add another 1/4 of the bechamel & another layer of noodles.  Top this with the other 1/2 of the pumpkin/ricotta and the other 1/2 of the greens.  Add more crushed red pepper – if you like – and maybe some S&P.  Add another 1/4 of the bechamel & another layer of noodles.  Top with the rest of the bechamel & spread the Parmesan & mozzarella on top.  Garnish with a few sage leaves.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling & beginning to brown.  Let the lasagna rest about ten minutes & then start hacking into it & shoving it into your pie hole.  Mmmmmm!  Autumn!

Oh!  And in the interest of full disclosure – the pictures I used here of the lasagna on a plate is really TWO pieces of lasagna stacked on top of each other.  You can do this when you serve it – if the deeper lasagna appeals to you visually.

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Homemade Roasted Pumpkin Puree

INGREDIENTS

Fresh pumpkin (I used two small pie pumpkins & got about 4 cups of puree from them)

Water

S&P

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the tops off & then pumpkins in half (or quarter them, if your pumpkin is large), seed them (keeping the seeds for roasting!  I will post a recipe for that next) & roast for about 40-50 minutes or until the skin is soft & the meat is fork tender.

Let them cool a bit & then scoop out the meat & puree in a food processor or blender.  I added about 1 cup of water to mine to thin it enough to blend.  Add a bit of S&P.

This puree is REALLY good for dogs & can be a miracle cure for doggy diarrhea if you add some to their food.  Just FYI.

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