Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pumpkin Lasagna

Some of you asked about the pumpkin lasagna I made.


Pumpkin Lasagna

Recipe courtesy of Robert Irvine for Food Network Magazine

Prep Time:
20 min
Inactive Prep Time:
15 min
Cook Time:
50 min
8 servings

1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 to 6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup red wine
1 28-ounce can tomato sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 16-ounce box lasagna noodles
1 large egg
2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded romano cheese
1 large zucchini, very thinly sliced


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pumpkin puree in a fine sieve over a bowl; set aside to drain while you make the sauce.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 2 more minutes. Add the sausage and cook until brown, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Pour in the wine and cook until reduced by half. Stir in the tomato sauce and herbs and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Season with salt and pepper, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lasagna noodles and cook as the label directs. Drain and toss with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.
Mix the strained pumpkin puree with the egg in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella and the romano.

Build your lasagna in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish: Start with a layer of sauce, then top with a layer of noodles. Evenly spread half of the pumpkin filling, then half of the zucchini, over the noodles. Top with half of the cheese mixture and cover with some of the sauce. Repeat the layers, finishing with noodles and sauce; sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Bake, uncovered, 35 to 40 minutes, or until bubbly. Let cool 15 minutes before slicing.

This was in my local paper today:

Try making pumpkin pie from a fresh gourd rather than a can

Chances are you won't be disappointed with the result.

By Susan Shely

Reading Eagle correspondent

Pumpkin pie is a holiday staple, but many bakers balk at the thought of making one from scratch.Sure, it's simple to open a can of pumpkin, and, indeed, you can make a great, high-quality pie. Use the recipe on the back of the can, or pick one of the thousands you can find printed or online, employing a variety of ingredients such as cream cheese, pudding mix, melted ice cream and buttermilk.

Crook neck pumpkins at Stoltzfus Garden Produce Stand in the Shillington Farmers Market.
In the event, however, that you have access to fresh pumpkin - or decide to seek it out and do pumpkin from scratch - chances are you won't be disappointed with the results.

Prior to the availability of canned pumpkin, cooks and bakers simply cooked the pumpkins they grew, or others grew, and used the resulting puree to make pies and other dishes. Pumpkins, after all, are simply a type of winter squash, much like butternut or acorn or Hubbard. They are a member of the cucurbitaceae family, which also includes cucumbers and melons.

They're a great source of beta carotene, which the body coverts into vitamin A, are low in calories and a good source of carbohydrates and potassium.

It's thought that pumpkins are native to Central America, and we know that American Indians were already growing pumpkins in North America when the Pilgrims arrived. Pumpkin is thought to have been present in some form on early Thanksgiving tables, although a scarcity of sugar makes it unlikely that it was in pie form. However it was served, it's a sure bet that it didn't come out of a can.

According to the traditional cook's bible, "The Joy of Cooking," pumpkins can be used much the same way as any other winter squash - baked; mashed; or added to soups, stews or gratins. Preparing pumpkin for a from-scratch pie or other recipe isn't difficult, but it involves several steps, the first of which is choosing the type of pumpkin you want to use.

Any kind of pumpkin will yield pulp and resulting puree, but some kinds are better for cooking and baking than others. Most sources advise leaving your jack-o'-lantern for the compost pile, although you can save the seeds and toast them. Don't be tempted to recycle a pumpkin that's been cut open and left to sit outside for a couple of days or longer; mold and bacteria may be present.

A variety of small, round pumpkins called pie pumpkins are recommended for cooking and baking, as are Cinderella pumpkins, referred to as such because they served as the prototype for Cinderella's carriage. Pie pumpkins generally weigh in at between 2 and 5 pounds, while Cinderella pumpkins normally weigh between 18 and 35 pounds.

Often preferred by cooks and bakers are neck pumpkins, or crook neck pumpkins, which resemble giant butternut squash with greatly elongated necks. They are prized for the long necks, which are solid, orange flesh. The only seeds are located in a small cavity in the large end of the pumpkin. They aren't stringy and are easy to peel and to process into a great tasting puree. Crook neck pumpkins are available locally at farmer's markets, some grocery stores and farm stands.To make pumpkin puree from a crook neck pumpkin, wash the pumpkin well to remove any dirt, then dry well. Cut the pumpkin into several pieces and peel each piece with a vegetable peeler. Cut the peeled pieces into smaller pieces. You'll need to scrape the seeds from the hollow end of the pumpkin - save them for roasting.

Cook the pieces in a large pot in a small amount of boiling water for 20 to 30 minutes, testing to see if they are soft. Continue cooking until very tender.You can use a food processor, strainer or food mill to puree the pumpkin, which is prepared in much the same manner as strained applesauce. The puree should have about the same texture as applesauce.Once pureed, the pumpkin can be used in any recipe calling for canned pumpkin. A 5e-pound neck pumpkin will make about 4 1/2 cups of puree.

1 comment:

Jake said...

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