Tuesday, March 14, 2006

PUMPKIN LASAGNE, ANYONE?

Pumpkin lasagne might sound strange, but when you have got a shelf of pumpkins leftover from the winter and nothing but an old jar of pesto in the fridge, it all clicks into place.

This started as a Cranks recipe (Nadine creates a three-layered lasagne, with a mushroom layer and a spinach layer) but I tried it once with mushrooms and didn't like it. And pumpkins & spinach aren't in season at the same time, so that isn't much good. Leeks are okay, mixed with creme fraiche or ricotta, and sandwiched in the middle layer. But nowt wrong with this just as it is.

Strange, but go with it...

PUMPKIN LASAGNE

Half a huge pumpkin, or a whole medium pumpkin
Pesto
Salt and pepper
Lasagne Sheets
1tbsp butter
1tbsp plain flour
1.5pt milk

Peel, de-seed and chop the pumpkin. This is one of the worst kitchen jobs in the world. In fact, right now I have half a pumpkin on the kitchen worktop with a giant knife sticking out of it. Couldn't get it out, and was weak from hacking.

Anyway, pumpkin chunks go onto a baking tray, seasoned, drizzled with olive oil, and roasted at high heat for 20-30mins.

When they come out, turn them gently in about 1tbsp pesto on the tray and leave while you make the white sauce.

Melt the butter, add flour and stir until it's a paste. Stir in the milk, a little at a time, whisking. When all the milk's in, increase the heat and allow to come to simmering point, stirring until it's thickened. (But not too thick - you want a light bechamel) Add the grated cheese (a good handful, or more if you like cheese a lot - and almost any cheese is fine here, like cheddar, ricotta, and particularly the vegetarian Parmesan you can get in Sainsburys)

All you do now is layer the lasagne - pumpkin, lasagne, bechamel, etc - until you get to the top, slather with the remaining sauce, sprinkle with parmesan and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes on a medium heat.

You'll need garlic bread and a mustardy salad on the side.