Pumpkin Lasagna

As promised, I’m back with this amazing pumpkin lasagna! I’m sure a few of you will have un-carved, would-be jack-o-lanterns sitting around just begging to be roasted, pureed, and covered in goat cheese. I had no qualms making and eating this dish again (and again, and again) for the blog; it is such a perfect fall comfort meal. With just enough cheese to add richness and warmth on a cold night it still comes across as healthy: pumpkins are chock-full of vitamin A, carotene, and antioxidants. Plus, with more fresh chevre than Parmigiano, the fat content from the cheese isn’t too weighty either. You see, the younger a cheese, the more water content it has, which means less fat. It’s easy to assume that something as rich as mozzarella or triple-cremes have more fat than harder cheeses like cheddar or aged gouda but, the opposite is actually true. So go ahead, indulge! This lasagna keeps well, covered, for up to a week. Good luck making it last that long.

Pumpkin Lasagna

serves 9

2 tbsp butter
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Andouille sausage links*
1/4 c chiffonaded sage
3 1/2 cups pumpkin puree**
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cayenne
8 oz chevre
1/2 c freshly-grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/2 lb lasagna noodles

Pre-heat oven to 350º. In large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and add onions. Cook until translucent then add garlic, sausage (if using), and sage. Cook until sausage is mostly browned and add pumpkin, cream, salt, sugar, and spices. Lower heat and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until sausage is cooked through. Sauce should be a thick, but still spreadable consistency. If sauce is too thin, add a bit more cream. Remove from heat and set aside. Lightly coat the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish with olive oil. Place three lasagna noodles in the bottom, overlapping slightly, and top with 1/3 of the pumpkin sauce, 1/3 of the chevre, and 1/3 of the Parmigiano. Continue forming layers, ending with Parmigiano. Bake, covered with aluminum foil, for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 until cheese is browned.

*I used sausage in the first version of this recipe I made, but left it out in the second to see if it would still be tasty. It was. I think if I made a vegetarian version again I would add either some steamed greens and browned mushrooms to add texture and to boost nutrition.

**I used canned, unsweetened pumpkin puree. But you could absolutely use fresh pumpkin for this. Simply halve a small cooking pumpkin (usually labeled as ‘cheese’ pumpkins), coat the flesh with some olive oil and salt, and roast, cut side down, at 375º for about 40 minutes or until flesh is tender. You then scrape the flesh and puree it in a blender or food processor.