It's been a long while since I've made lasagna and I always made the usual meat sauce type, but then I saw a vegetarian recipe in a magazine and thought I'd try it.
Pumpkin, spinach and ricotta lasagna.
Looks nice doesn't it?
I've never used fresh lasagna sheets before, always dried, so this was a learning curve for me.
grated parmesan; 1/2 cup (I buy this in blocks and grate as needed)
finely chopped chives; 1 bunch
Don't worry, I'll print the full recipe at the bottom of the page.
The recipe says to use an eight cup capacity dish; mine only holds six cups, so I had spinach leaves and pumpkin mix left over, but ran out of cheese sauce.
The recipe is going to need some tweaking.
The top layer is supposed to be cheese sauce which is then sprinkled with the remaining grated tasty cheese. Which I had already put into the sauce...so I improvised with grated mozzarella and parmesan.
There's a reason for that, which I will now tell you.
I served it hot, so the sauce was still runny. (and my dish is too deep)
To get nice neat slices, a dish like this needs to be allowed to cool and set. Ideally, make it the day before you want it, refrigerate it then cut portions and zap in the microwave to heat through.
Even reheating in the pan without slicing, will result in neater slices as the sauce has had time to set.
Taste? A little too sweet for two reasons. I forgot the seasoning, it would have been much better with the pinch of salt and shake of pepper that was supposed to go into the pumpkin, ricotta, chives etc mix. Second reason? I chose butternut pumpkin (which USA readers will know as butternut squash) and it is sweeter than other varieties.
I also think the cheese sauce was a bit too much. Okay in a meat lasagna, but for this I think I would just sprinkle grated cheese in place of cheese sauce next time.
Here's the recipe and I'll leave it up to you to decide:
1.2kg pumpkin cut into 3cm pieces
1/4 cup plain (all purpose) flour
2 1/2 cups reduced fat milk (I just used what I had in the fridge)
125g grated tasty cheese
300g fresh ricotta
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 bunch chives finely chopped
2tbs milk, extra
1 egg, whisked (I didn't whisk)
375g fresh lasagna sheets
120g baby spinach leaves
1. preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Grease (whoops, forgot that bit too) an 8 cup capacity ovenproof dish. Cook pumpkin until tender, drain and cool.
2. Melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to combine, cook for two minutes. Slowly add milk while still whisking, bring to boil, simmer two minutes**. Remove from heat, stir in 1 cup tasty cheese.
3. Place pumpkin and ricotta in food processor, process until smooth. Transfer to bowl, stir in parmesan, chives, extra milk and egg. Season.
Spread 1/2 cup of pumpkin mixture over base of dish. Top with pasta sheets, spoon over 1 cup of pumpkin mix. top with 1/3 of the spinach, (I just added one layer of leaves) then 1/3 cup cheese sauce. (I didn't measure, just spread sauce..which was a bit too thick after cooling, probably why I ran out)
4. Repeat layers ending with sauce. Sprinkle over remaining tasty cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Serve.
I would recommend a wider, flatter dish than the one I used which really is too deep for this. My original lasagna dish broke in the move and I haven't replaced it.
**this is difficult on an electric hotplate, it takes much longer than two minutes for it to cool from boiling to simmer temperature.