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.