Pumpkin and Swiss Chard Lasagna

During one particularly ambitious October day in the Locavorious kitchen, we washed, cut, de-seeded, roasted, scraped and pureed 100 pie pumpkins. Everything and everyone was orange and sticky. At the end of the day I was still not “pumpkin-ed out” and went home inspired to try new things with the pumpkin puree. After considering autumn dishes like pumpkin gnocchi and butternut squash ravioli, I thought – why not a pumpkin lasagna? The idea for the pumpkin-Swiss chard combo comes from a Food and Wine.com recipe. Including Swiss chard seemed like an excellent idea, especially since it’s a popular green thing in our house, but I thought the Food and Wine recipe lacked that ricotta-mozzarella richness of traditional lasagnas so loved in cold weather, so I moved the recipe in a comfy cheesy direction.

If you are starting with a fresh pie pumpkin, (or other hard winter squashes would work too) start by slicing it in half, scraping out the seeds, and baking at 350 F for about 1 hour.   When the pumpkin halves are cool enough to handle, scrape out the roasted pumpkin and puree it in a food processor or with a stick blender for about 1 minute.   Kale would work just fine in this recipe too.

Pumpkin-swiss chard lasagna:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large onions, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 large bunch of Swiss chard, washed, de-stemmed and chopped, or 12 oz frozen Swiss chard, defrosted

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried sage

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

15 oz roasted pumpkin puree, defrosted if frozen

15 oz ricotta

2 cups shredded or chopped mozzarella

½ cup Parmesan + few Ts for top

3/4 cup cream or milk

12 whole wheat lasagna noodles – could also used no-boil or any sort of lasagna noodles

In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the chard, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon sage, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Cook, stirring a bit, until the chard is heated through, and no liquid remains in the pan, ~ 4 -6 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Prepare the lasagna noodles (if necessary) and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together ~ 2/3rds of the pumpkin puree, the ricotta, mozzarella, a scant 1/2 cup Parmesan, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon sage, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and salt to taste. (I used ½ teas salt in the cheese mixture, but it could have used less.)

In a 9 x 13 or similar size baking dish, prepare the bottom to prevent sticking with either cooking spray, butter or pour in a little milk. Lay 3 noodles in the dish and then spread 1/3rd of the pumpkin-cheese mixture over the noodles. Spread 1/3rd of the Swiss chard mixture over the pumpkin. Repeat this noodle-pumpkin-chard layering two more times, and top with a final layer of noodles.

Next, combine the remaining pumpkin puree and 3/4 cup of cream or milk. Pour evenly over the top of the lasagna, sprinkle with the extra Parmesan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-40 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes more.

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