Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Lasagna with Pumpkin and Spinach

Lasagna with Pumpkin and Spinach 1

I didn't have time to make a proper bechamel sauce for the pumpkin spinach lasagna I served at my holiday Sriracha party so it was a bit dry. Everyone ate it, but my ego was affected. I knew I could do better!

A fall squash lasagna didn't quite fit with nephew's luau-themed 2nd birthday party, but I can't eat a whole pan of pasta by myself! I have to make it when there are plenty of people to finish it. Except, the pumpkin spinach lasagna was sooo good, I kind of wish I saved it all for me.

I chose to include pasta sauce in my version to lighten the heaviness of all that bechamel sauce and cheese. Otherwise, I think just pasta and squash and cheese may be a little one note? It's one thing to eat smaller portions of Pumpkin Ravioli, but another thing entirely when eating lasagna. The squash, pasta sauce, cheese, spinach, and Italian sausage all worked together to create a lasagna that was perfect for the cold winter months.

Lasagna with Pumpkin and Spinach 2

Lasagna with Pumpkin and Spinach

For a 9-inch-by-13-inch pan, you'll need:

1 to 2 lb sugar pumpkin, boiled and mashed
1 stick butter
2/3 cup flour
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 medium onion, diced
1 lb Italian sausage
1 lb fresh or frozen spinach, roughly chopped
1 bunch basil, roughly torn
1 lb package lasagna noodles
24 oz jar pasta sauce
8 oz mozzarella cheese

Peel and dice a small sugar pumpkin. Boil on medium heat for about 20 minutes until the pumpkin pieces are soft. Drain off excess liquid and mash the pumpkin. It's OK if the pumpkin is pretty wet as the moisture will help soften the lasagna noodles as they cook. If you can't find pumpkin, you can substitute with butternut or acorn squash.

Make the Bechamel Sauce by melting 1 stick of butter and 2/3 cup flour on medium-low heat until a roux is formed. Add 2 cups milk, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Let simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes until thickened to your liking. Turn off heat and set aside.

Lasagna with Pumpkin and Spinach 3

Now, it's time to cook the sausage. Dice a medium onion. Drizzle a bit of oil and saute on medium-high heat until the onion is softened.

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Add the Italian sausage, breaking it into smaller pieces as you cook it. Set aside. You can easily omit the meat if you want to make this vegetarian.

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I used diced tomatoes in my holiday party version, and I'd have to say pasta sauce works much better, but that's up to you.

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Ready to assemble.

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See how dry the holiday party version of the pumpkin spinach lasagna was without the bechamel sauce? Needs more moisture!

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Start by spooning a bit of pasta sauce on the bottom of the pan. Add some sausage and spinach on top.

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Lay out uncooked lasagna noodles. Then add the mashed pumpkin on top.

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Add the bechamel sauce and then some grated mozzarella cheese.

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Tear off some basil leaves.

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Then repeat again with pasta sauce and Italian sausage.

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Noodles, pumpkin, bechamel sauce, mozzarella, basil. I did about three layers total of everything.

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Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to about an hour.

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Yummy fall lasagna!

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Enjoy!

Other lasagna recipes:
Lasagna with Meat Sauce
Lasagna with Salmon and Spinach
Pastitsio (Greek "Lasagna") 
Vegetarian Lasagna with Broccoli, Kale, and Zucchini
Vegetarian Lasagna with Feta Cheese, Spinach, and Tofu

*****
1 year ago today, A Knight-Themed Party and Vietnamese First Birthday Traditions.
2 years ago today,
3 years ago today,
4 years ago today, Caesar Salad with Chicken and Croutons.
5 years ago today, Vietnam Restaurant - San Gabriel.
6 years ago today, Chicken Kara-age (Japanese Fried Chicken).
7 years ago today, Goi Cuon (Vietnamese Salad Rolls).

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