Pumpkin Spinach Lasagna

It may still be hovering around 100 degrees in Dubai, but it’s still October…technically, it’s pumpkin time. I hoarded canned pumpkin last year and had one can left – what to make? I was inspired by all the fall recipes popping up in my newsfeed and settled on a pumpkin lasagna.  I added spinach because then you can convince yourself you’re eating healthy vegetables while you consume this cheesy creamy comfort food. Nutmeg, a dash of cayenne, garlic in the bechamel, and a blend of mozzarella and parmesan cheeses bring a nice flavor to the pumpkin-centric pasta.

The two best time savers for you in this recipe are the canned pumpkin and ready-to-bake noodles. The most time consuming bit is making the bechamel, but this creamy white stuff is what takes the dish to the next level. I have a lasagna fan in the house, and he gave it immediate “is there more of this?” approval. It was pretty easy to pull together, so it could become a repeat offender!

Pumpkin Spinach Lasagna

For the filling:
1 can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup defrosted frozen spinach
1/2 stick butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 Tbs sage
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Dash cayenne pepper

For the bechamel:
3 Tbs Butter
1/2 Tbs minced garlic
3 Tbs flour
3 cups whole milk
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Salt

For assembly:
Ready-to-bake lasagna noodles
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup more grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 375F.

To make the filling, start by melting and browning the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Combine browned butter with pumpkin puree, spinach, parmesan, sage, nutmeg, salt, and cayenne. Adjust seasoning to taste.

To make the bechamel, melt remaining 3 Tbs of butter with the minced garlic over medium heat. In a separate pan, bring milk to a gentle simmer over low heat. Whisk flour into the melted butter and garlic and reduce heat to low. (You don’t necessarily need to know that this is called a roux, but it does help you sound like a fancy chef.) Continue whisking frequently as you gradually add the hot milk. Add 1/4 tsp salt and nutmeg. Bring heat back up to medium and bring to a boil, keep whisking. Cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 5 minutes. Add another 1/4 tsp salt.

Put it allll together! Use a small baking dish (this is not a large yield recipe). Coat bottom of the dish wish small amount of the bechamel. Then arrange the pasta lining the dish (they come in all different sizes, make it work for your dish size and shape!). Top with a layer of the pumpkin filling, another layer of pasta, then pour more bechamel and top with a mix of the two cheeses. Keep repeating the layers of pasta, pumpkin, pasta, bechamel, cheese depending on the depth of your dish and the amounts of each you have left, ending with a pasta and cheese layer on top.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue cooking until the cheese starts to brown, about 35 more minutes.

This recipe is easy to adjust. I would have doubled it if only I had more pumpkin! Mix different spices in the filling or swap out the cheese types depending on what you have or what you like. Enjoy!

© Cook it Pretty 2015

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