Halloween Treats...Roasted Pumpkin and Spinach Lasagne

Pumpkins are a delicious vegetable with a sweet and gentle flavour, and the kind of flesh that goes melt-in-the-mouth soft when roasted. Regrettably, our ability to purchase them is confined to only one time of the year…round about now! With Halloween on the horizon, pumpkins are popping up in supermarkets all over the place, so make the most of their brief period of availability and start incorporating them in as many recipes as possible.

Ingredients:

  • 750g pumpkin, deseeded and sliced up thinly
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g spinach
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1tbsp butter
  • 1 standard packet of lasagne sheets
  • Cheddar or Parmesan for grating on top

For the tomato sauce…

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 400g of tinned tomatoes
  • 100ml vegetable stock
  • Tomato puree

For the béchamel sauce…

  • 50g butter
  • 50g flour
  • 500ml milk

Method…

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, and start by slicing up your pumpkin and roasting it in the olive oil for around 35-40 minutes, until tender.

While this is cooking, make the tomato sauce. Fry the onions and garlic, then add the tomatoes followed by the vegetable stock and roughly a tbsp. of tomato puree. Leave to simmer for around 15 minutes.

Next, prepare the spinach. Wash then place in a large saucepan, bit by bit if necessary, allowing it all to wilt down with the butter. Add the ground nutmeg as well as seasoning with salt and pepper.

Lastly, prepare the béchamel sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan then add the flour bit by bit, stirring vigorously until it all comes together and looks a bit like the texture of sand. Once it reaches this stage, add the milk very gradually, stirring continuously as you do so. (By this point the pumpkin may be ready, in which case take it out of the oven and keep handy alongside the other components to the lasagne).

It’s really important with béchamel sauce to keep stirring, and not add too much milk at once, so that it comes together with a smooth consistency free from lumps before each addition. If you’ve used up all of the milk and it still looks a bit thick, don’t hesitate to add a bit more.

Once your white sauce is ready, you can begin to assemble the lasagne. Using a large baking dish, start by placing half of the pumpkin in a layer at the bottom, then spoon on top half of the tomato sauce. Next, make a layer of lasagne sheets. Then, spoon on half of the spinach and pour on top of that around 1/3rd of the white sauce. Make another layer of lasagne sheets. Repeat that entire process until you have four layers of lasagne and only 1/3rd of your white sauce left. Pour this on the top of the lasagne and grate over a generous amount of cheese.

Bake in the oven for around 40 minutes until it is golden brown on top, cuts through easily with a knife and you can see the sauce bubbling underneath.

When it comes to the end of October, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be eating pumpkin for both dinner and desert! Get baking and enjoy…