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.
Roasted Pumpkin Lasagna with Red Chard and Fried Sage Bechamel (with Homemade Pumpkin Puree)
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Homemade Roasted Pumpkin Puree
Fresh pumpkin (I used two small pie pumpkins & got about 4 cups of puree from them)
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.