Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Pumpkin Fest Part Four : Pumpkin, Pesto and Spinach Lasagna

Pumpkin, Pesto and Spinach Lasagna - The Inky Kitchen

Homemade lasagna is one of my favourite meals and I adore experimenting with different flavours and textures to make them a little more special. Lasagna made with strips of chicken, chopped tomatoes and basil layered between green spinach pasta sheets and topped with a creamy cheddar sauce is one of the best, but I also love meat free versions using courgette slices or a mixed mushroom and red wine filling.

This version just sort of popped into my mind on Monday while I was dreaming of dinner at my desk at work (an often occurance) . I wasn't sure that the pesto would work with the pumpkin, but I was darn well gonna try it and I think it's one of my new favourite combinations. I might even try it on toast at the weekend!

As you can see from the photos I topped my lasagna with some of the spicy roasted pumpkin seeds that I had made on Sunday, but they turned out a little more crunchy than anticipated so I won' be doing it again, although I may try grinding some up and mixing them with the breadcrumb topping next time...

I always serve lasagna with a simple lettuce and red onion salad with a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil drizzled over - it cuts through and compliments the rich creamy dish perfectly.

Pumpkin, Pesto and Spinach Lasagna - The Inky Kitchen

Pumpkin, Pesto and Spinach Lasagna
Serves 4 as a main course

3 red onions, sliced fairly small
1 tbsp olive oil
1 heaped tbsp pesto
150g mushrooms, sliced
800g roasted pumpkin, in 1/2 inch cubes
50ml white wine
1/4-1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 box of lasagna sheets
500g wilted spinach (I used frozen that I defrosted in the microwave)
250g tub of ricotta cheese
120ml milk
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups panko or normal breadcrumbs
60g sharp cheddar, grated

Preheat the oven to 180 C / 360 F.

Fry the sliced red onions in the olive oil for a few minutes over a medium high heat and then add the pesto. Mix well and then add the sliced mushrooms. Cook for a further 3-5 minutes until the mushrooms have softened and then add the cubed pumpkin. Pour over the white wine, and then add the chilli flakes, salt and black pepper. Stir gently until everything is combined, reduce to a medium heat and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Take a fairly large deep sided baking tray/dish and pour in the pumpkin mixture. Top with a layer of lasagna sheets and then cover them with the wilted spinach. Try to make sure it is spread out evenly, and then add the next layer of pasta sheets.

Put the ricotta into a bowl and add the milk and ground nutmeg, mix well and then pour over the dish of lasagna. Spread it out with a spatula making sure the whole lasagna is covered, then sprinkle over the breadcrumbs.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then remove and sprinkle over the grated cheese before returning to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and burnished.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before cutting and serving - I would suggest with a side salad and/or some crusty bread.

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