Fresh Pumpkin Lasagna
Why I Love This Recipe
This pumpkin lasagna started out as a double dog dare you...to make a dish that was found at a restaurant in Europe. My husband baited me and I took it hook line and sinker. Since making this the first time, it has now become our go to comfort food in the fall and winter. Sure, the traditional Italian version with tomatoes and meat is delicious, but this pumpkin version is so much more comforting. And hey...you actually get a good size serving of vegetables with all that comfort!
Ingredients You'll Need
2 Pounds Fresh Pumpkin – to make 6 Cups of Diced Pumpkin (peeled and cubed into 1/2″ pieces)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Medium Yellow Onion (diced)
2-3 Cloves Garlic (minced)
1 Pound Spicy Italian Sausage (casings removed)
1 Medium Zucchini (shredded)
1 14 Ounce Can Diced Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Red Wine
1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Basil
1 Package Frozen Spinach (thawed and chopped)
1 Pound Part Skim Ricotta Cheese
2 Cups Shredded Parmesan Cheese (separated)
1/2 Cup Walnuts (chopped)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/8 Teaspoon Fresh or Ground Nutmeg
1 Pound Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
Insert a steamer basket into a large saucepan and fill to just below the basket with water. Add in the 6 cups of diced pumpkin.
Cook over high heat for 7-10 minutes (with a lid on top) until the pieces are easily pierced with a knife. Do not cook them until they become mush.
In a large skillet, over medium heat, add the olive oil and sautè the onion and garlic until the onion becomes translucent. Add the sausage and cook until browned (breaking it up as it cooks). Add in the zucchini and cook 5 more minutes. Set aside.
In a small saucepan combine the diced tomatoes, red wine and chicken stock. Bring to a low boil over medium low heat. Adjust the flavor with salt and black pepper to taste. Then add the oregano and basil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer until ready to use. Stir it occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking.
While the tomatoes are cooking….
In a large bowl, mix the spinach, ricotta, 1 cup of Parmesan, eggs, a large pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly.
Build your lasagna in a 9×12 baking dish starting with a layer of tomatoes, a layer of pasta, a layer of 1/3 the cheese and a layer of 1/3 the sausage. Spoon a 1/3 of the pumpkin pieces in next and sprinkle with 1/3 of the walnuts. Do this 2 more times, finishing with the pumpkins and walnuts on top (it’s okay if the meat pokes through the pumpkin). Sprinkle with the remaining cup of Parmesan cheese.
Cook for 45 minutes, loosely covered with foil.
Remove foil and cook for 15 more minutes.
Let cool for 20 minutes before serving. If you don’t wait for it to cool a bit, the lasagna will fall apart when you cut and serve it.
Do not cook the lasagna noodles. This will keep them al dente when the lasagna cooks. If you cook them before hand, you may get a pan of mush.