This recipe, adapted from the book Gluten Free and Easy by Robyn Russell, combines a whole roasted pumpkin with lasagna. It requires quite a bit of prep time if you don’t have tomato sauce already made. It’s a good idea to start cooking on a Sunday afternoon so there’s plenty of time to finish before dinner time. Enjoy leftovers for the rest of the work week.
total time: about 2 hours
1 medium pumpkin from the farmer’s market
1 box Tinkyada lasagna noodles
15 oz. fresh ricotta
1 bunch fresh basil, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 cup Parmesan cheese
For the tomato sauce: (use your favorite homemade version or…)
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 28 0z can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
1/2 a medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano or italian seasonings
salt and pepper to taste
For the white sauce:
1/2 stick butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch or brown rice flour
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
To roast the pumpkin, preheat the oven to 350 and fill a Pyrex baking dish with about 1/4″ of water. Cut the pumpkin in half vertically and scoop out the seeds and fibers (reserve seeds to make a delicious snack later). Place pumpkin halves face down into the prepared Pyrex dish. Roast for 30-40 minutes.
While the pumpkin is roasting, start the tomato sauce (bonus if you already have a good tomato sauce made- this will save time and the lasagna will be more flavorful with a sauce that’s had time to sit at least overnight). To make the sauce, heat the olive oil on medium. Add the diced onion and the mushrooms, cook 3-5 minutes. Add the 2 cloves minced garlic and saute 1-2 minutes more. Scoop the tomato paste into the pot and mix well with onion, mushrooms and garlic- then add the canned diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. While bringing this to a boil, add oregano or italian seasonings, a handful of chopped basil, salt, pepper, and maybe a splash of red wine. Once at a boil, reduce to simmer for at least 30-40 minutes.
While the tomato sauce is finishing up, bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil and place the Tinkyada lasagna noodles in, stirring occasionally for 7 minutes. DO NOT follow cooking instructions on the box or you will end up with a very mushy lasagna. The noodles only need to be cooked a maximum of 7 minutes, trust me, I have made the mistake of overcooking them more then once! Drain noodles carefully and rinse with warm water, gently separating the sheets.
While the lasagna noodles cook, whip up the white sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan, adding the heavy cream, heating for about a minute, and then whisking in the flour or cornstarch. Whisk together until smooth, and then add the Parmesan cheese. Stir and set aside.
Remove the pumpkin from the oven if you haven’t already, and scoop out its contents into a large mixing bowl, discard the shell. Add the ricotta cheese and stir until well mixed. Fold in a handful of chopped basil, 2 cloves of finely diced garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Now that you have all of your components, spread a couple heaping tablespoons of sauce on the bottom of a clean Pyrex dish. Layer 3 noodles across the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/4 of the pumpkin ricotta mixture (about 1 cup) over the first layer of noodles then spread about 1 cup of your tomato sauce on top and sprinkle a handful of Parmesan cheese. Repeat these steps until you run out of noodles. End with the ricotta-pumpkin mixture and spread the white sauce evenly atop lasagna. Place into a 350 degree oven. Cook for about 40-50 minutes, or until topping is nicely browned. Garnish with fresh Parmesan and basil.