After proffering a heaping plate of leftovers to the poor boy who missed the Pumploitation Dinner* (after coming up with the term pumploitation, no less), I proceeded to devour whatever else remained for dinner last night.
*Am I really still talking about that? Yes. Yes, I am. [And will continue to do so until all recipes have been shared, and all leftovers consumed or re-purposed. Pumploitation forever!!!!]
Included in those leftovers? Some of the delicious Pumpkin Goo(p)—still great four days later I would like to point out–and the rest of the Pumpkin Lasagna.
I don’t know where the idea came from to make Pumpkin Lasagna, but it probably popped up in one of my endless googlings for “pumpkin recipes” and the idea of a pumpkin pasta dish has been in my brain since Rachael Ray made one years ago. It’s just never something I’ve done.
I basically combined my delectable veggie lasagna recipe (one day you will get to see that…I hope you wait eagerly in anticipation until that day comes) with whatever I thought might taste good with pumpkin [slash] whatever I had in my fridge and/or freezer already.
It looks a lot more complicated than it is, but I somehow managed to make one dish, four ways. Not knowing what people would like, nor which pairings of ingredients would turn out the best, I figured I should just make all four into one creation, and then just see what happened.
First, grate cheese. I recommend doing this the night before while watching a Zac Efron movie and blowing up a pumpkin in your oven. You’ll need 2 cups of grated fontina (or Gruyere, but it is more expensive), 1 cup grated mozzarella, and 1 cup grated Parmesan.(The mozarella and fontina are combined in one dish. I’m not lying to you about the necessity of lots and lots of cheese.)
Just when you thought you couldn’t possibly need more cheese…three MORE types of cheese make their way into this dish: cottage, cream, and ricotta.Combine 1/2 cup each of the cottage and ricotta cheeses, plus 1/2 block of cream cheese, in a food processor. Add one egg…
…and blend away! Watch out for scary egg yolk drippings…
Although they just look creepy. They won’t hurt you or anything. (Unless they contain salmonella, but let’s not go there.)
Put away the cheesy mixture until you are ready to use it. [I would recommend that that “away” include refrigeration.]
Time to make the pumpkin!
You’ll need a large 29-oz. can of pumpkin puree, diced onion, minced garlic, freshly chopped sage, and a little bit of veggie broth for thinning it out.Saute the onion and garlic in a lil’ bit of olive oil until softened, then add in the chopped sage and a little S & P (and some dried thyme…so good with pumpkin). Pour in the pumpkin. Stir. Add a little broth to make it slightly “looser” but not soupy. You still want it to be pretty thick or you’ll end up with soggy lasagna. [Yuck.]
Now you can get creative. Turns out that each of the “four ways” was delicious, so it is up to you. You can just make plain pumpkin lasagna, or you can add some spinach…
Then, start the layering process. First, spread a little pumpkin mixture on the bottom of a pan.
Top with a layer of whole wheat lasagna noodles. (Newsflash! You don’t need to pre-bake them. Even if they aren’t “oven ready.”)
Spread a layer of the cream cheese/ricotta mixture on top of that…
…and then more pumpkin, followed by spinach, sausage, or spinach AND sausage as you like.
Yes, I do teach math. Hence I made four distinct quadrants. There was also some tree diagramming of potential combinations that happened, but I forgot to take a picture [slash] that didn’t really happen except in my mind.
Top everything off with about half of your grated cheeses.
And then repeat.
The second time I didn’t add any “extras.” Partially because I wanted it to be a nice little surprise in the middle of the bite, and partially because I didn’t have enough to make a second spinach or sausage layer.
Into a 350 degree oven, covered*, for about 45 minutes, then uncovered for another 10 or so.
*Lasagna, not the oven. Although I hope that is covered, too.
It’s done when the cheese is melty and you can stick a fork relatively easily through the lasagna noodles.
Serve with a salad. If you want. But you do need something to counteract all that cheesy, pumpkin-y goodness.
10 whole-wheat lasagna noodles
2 cups grated fontina cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 block (4 oz.) cream cheese (1/3 less fat or Neufchatel, if desired)
1/2 cup low-fat or part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup 1% cottage cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 29-oz. can pumpkin puree
1/2-3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 cup diced sweet onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage [the more the better!!!!]
2-3 tsp. dried thyme
2-3 tsp. ground nutmeg
salt & pepper, to taste
4 links pork sausage or bratwurst, cooked and crumbled (to cover entire lasagna)
2 large bunches of spinach, sauteed/wilted (to cover entire lasagna)
1. Combine cream, cottage, and ricotta cheeses. Add in egg. Mix well. [Processing in a food processor is recommended.]
2. In a medium-sized saute pan, cook onion and garlic in a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat.
3. Add spices and cook briefly, until fragrant.
4. Pour in pumpkin puree. Stir well and heat through, adding vegetable broth until appropriate consistency.
5. Once pumpkin mixture has cooked, spread a very thin layer of the pumpkin into the bottom of a 9×13 or 11×15 pan.
6. Top pumpkin layer with a layer of lasagna noodles. Cover noodles with a thin layer of cream cheese mixture, followed by a thicker layer of pumpkin.
7. Spread sausage and/or spinach over pumpkin layer, if using.
8. Sprinkle half of the fontina, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses onto the casserole.
9. Top cheese with a layer of lasagna noodles, and repeat a layer of cream cheese mixture, then pumpkin.
10. Sprinkle remaining grated cheese on top of the casserole.
11. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and cook a remaining 5-10 minutes, or until a fork glides easily through pasta.