Sunday, January 24, 2016

Pumpkin Lasagna - No, Really!!

I know what you're probably thinking....Really? Pumpkin Lasagna? 

I know. If I had seen it on a menu I would have kept on going. Not a chance would I order it. I honestly am NOT a pumpkin person. Does nothing for me. 

And I did not start out my day with any thought in my head of making pumpkin lasagna, that's for sure!

Nevertheless, that's exactly what happened. 

And it was so incredibly fabulous I had to share it with all of you!

It all started because I have all this fall produce that is still around. I cannot waste food . So, although I had no idea what I was going to do with this pumpkin I bought at the farmer's market, I simply knew that someday I would cook it up and give it a go!

Well, that someday was yesterday. It was time. The pumpkin needed to be cooked....even though I had no clue what I would do with it. 

I started with a tip from a dear reader - thanks, Pat! 

Pat suggested when she read my post on My Favorite Butternut Squash Soup that, in the future, I should put the whole butternut squash into the crockpot and cook it that way, no peeling required. 

I figured if it will work for a butternut squash it will work for a pumpkin!

So, in it went while I puttered around doing a bunch of chores. I figured once it was cooked I would figure out what to do with it. 

But while I was puttering around I kept thinking about it. I felt like making some sort of pasta dish and I remembered some pumpkin ravioli I tried many years ago - I recall being very surprised at how much I liked those ravioli!

Now the wheels were turning. I looked online to see if anyone else had the same idea and I saw a few recipes out there. But none were quite what I was looking for, so I did what I normally do in that case - take a little of each recipe, add them to what's whirling around in my head, and create my own concoction. 

And here it is for you. Because it was beyond amazing! This dish absolutely blew me away! 

I confess, I did not write down precise measurements however I did photograph the steps involved as I went on. 

Here is my photographic journey of the creation of my very first Pumpkin Lasagna. 

I can tell you for sure it will not be my last!


I started in the morning by cutting the top of a small pumpkin and putting it in the crockpot with about a half cup of water in the bottom of the crockpot. I did not use any seasonings at this point but just put the lid on and went about my day. 


I put the crockpot on high for the first hour and then set it to low for the next 5 hours. I cooked the pumpkin for 6 hours total. 

When it was time to cook dinner I removed it with tongs to a cutting board and scraped out the seeds. 

I then took a large spoon and scraped the cooked pumpkin flesh away from the skin and discarded the skins. Well - not quite discarded but rather into the compost bucket. 

The pumpkin flesh went into a bowl - I would guess I had about 2 cups pumpkin total. 


I mashed it up with a half stick of butter, some freshly ground sea salt and pepper, and about a 1/4 tsp nutmeg. I then added some chopped flatleaf parsley (1/3 cup) and a handful of sage leaves, which I also chopped. 


I had frozen both the parsley and sage at the end of the gardening season so I have fresh herbs for cooking all winter long. The parsley was chopped prior to freezing but the sage was frozen in whole leaves, which I pulled off the stems prior to freezing. Look how wonderful they still look all these months later!


The beautiful herbed pumpkin puree is ready to go. 

While I was preparing that, I was also sauteeing two sliced onions in a little olive oil. 


When the onions were nicely caramelized I made a hole in the center, dropped in a tablespoon of butter and sauteed a half a head of garlic, minced. 


I added a half bag of spinach once the garlic was fragrant and put the lid on the pan for a few minutes. 


Gorgeous! Wilted fragrant spinach. A sprinkle of freshly ground pepper and salt at this point and this layer was ready. 


I grabbed a glass lasagna pan and got busy layering. In the bottom of the pan I poured about a cup of fat free milk. 

Into the milk went two no-bake lasagna noodles. The milk will give them the layer of moisture they need to cook properly. 


On top of the noodles I sprinkled about  1/4 cup grated Romano cheese, 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella, and some salt and pepper. 

Two more noodles went on top of this mixture, and the spinach mixture on top of those noodles. 

Two more noodles on top of the spinach layer, and then came the herbed pumpkin layer. 


More noodles on top of that, with a layer of Mozzarella and Romano cheeses. 


Another layer of noodles and then the final layer of Ricotta, Mozzarella, and Romano cheese. 


I poured a little half & half over the top to make sure all the noodles would have enough moisture for cooking, gave it a good sprinkle of freshly ground pepper, and covered it with foil. 

Into a 375 oven for about an hour or so. I took the foil off for the last few minutes and turned the oven to low broil to brown the top - and when I took it out it looked like this:


Isn't that just gorgeous?

I let it 'set' for a good 10 minutes before serving. 

A sprinkle of freshly shaved Parmesan cheese set off the final dish beautifully. 

I think it's fair to say we were all absolutely delighted with my latest experiment!

The creamy cheesy layers complemented the pumpkin herb layer so beautifully!



The sage and nutmeg were just enough to set the dish apart from my usual veggie lasagna but they were subtle enough that they just blended beautifully with all the other flavors. 

The spinach, onion, and garlic layer added enough savory to complement the sweet of the pumpkin. Amazing, seriously!

All in all, I am so incredibly pleased with my experiment and I only regret I didn't make another for the freezer. 

But that's ok....there's another pumpkin that needs to be used before long. 

And I know just what to do with it now!


~~~~~~~~~~~

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25 comments:

  1. Looks yummy...pinned it! Did you use a pie pumpkin?

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    1. It's so long ago since I bought it, Donna, but I believe it was. It was not one of the pumpkins I bought just for decor....I actually bought this one to cook, at the suggestion of the farmer who swore it was wonderful. And it was!!

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  2. I love it when we create by chance a wonderful recipe!

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    1. I even surprised myself with this one, Magali! I'm lucky - my sweetie gets pretty excited when I tell him we're having an experiment for dinner. 99% of the time they turn out well but this one turned out exceptionally well!!

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  3. Pumpkin is a wonderful fiber. Thank goodness for cheese. LOL. It looked good. You are certainly eating healthy. I guess you served it like you would regular lasagna. Blessings to you, xoxo,Susie

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    1. I would suggest serving this with a side salad and some crusty warm bread. I hope you try it, Susie - I think you'll be pleased!

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  4. Now here's where we're vastly different. I would not have a clue how to just add this and that and have it come out looking like your pumpkin lasagna did. Mine would be a complete and utter mess and doomed for the trash can!
    Brenda

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    1. Ah but you do the same thing, just with home decor!! We all have our skills, Brenda!!

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  5. The only lasagnas that I have made are the standard Italian ones and Perogi lasagna. This is now on my cooking bucket list! :)

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    1. Oh, now I'm not familiar with Perogi lasagna although since I LOVE Perogies I can only imagine it's amazing!!

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  6. Wow, this looks and sounds absolutely amazing! I had no idea you could cook a pumpkin in a slow cooker. I've also never heard of putting milk on the bottom of a lasagna pan, but hey, I learn something new every day! I can't tell too much from the final photo...is this more of a "mushy" lasagna or a firm one?

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    1. It was mushy when I served it but honestly I just didn't let it sit long enough to set up. The milk in the bottom of the pan took the place of the Bechamel that was my original thought....I took a chance and it worked perfectly!

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  7. This looks fabulous and your step by step photos are so helpful! It is so obvious that you enjoy the process of cooking.

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    1. I really do, Dewena. I generally wake up thinking about food! Right now it's 8:00 AM and I'm planning dinner in my head!

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  8. Aren't you smart! I still have a cute pumpkin on my back patio. Hmmm.... do I cook it or give it to the racoons? :)

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    1. Ha ha I'm sure the raccoons would appreciate it but so would your family if you made them this awesome lasagna! However, I know nothing about pumpkins except that the ones I had out on my porch were for decor and the ones I had in the kitchen were from the farmers' market and for cooking! So make sure yours is a cooking pumpkin....or are they all ok for cooking?? See - I know nothing!!

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  9. You need to write a book. You are amazingly talented and my mouth is always watering when I come here. Wow...that's all I have to say!

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    1. Ha ha I don't know about that!! Maybe someday...who knows? Someday when I retire and have the time? :)

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  10. Replies
    1. Don't you just want to dig right in, Debbie?

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  11. Oh my goodness, this sounds so delicious! I love it when a creative idea comes together in such an amazing way! It always feels so good to use something up, and make something new too... way to go! :)

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    1. I've been trying so hard not to bring the leftovers to work this week although it is calling out my name!

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  12. This pumpkin lasagna looks absolutely delicious! Need to add this to my menu!

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Marsha - and I hope you enjoy it!

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