Lasagna on the menu tonight but there’s no mince in the trolley. Three words.
Meat free Monday.
So it’s pumpkin, silverbeet and ricotta instead. A match made in heaven.
Please do not underestimate this lasagna due to the absence of meat. This dish has more flavour in one bite than a whole plate of my traditional lasagna. The pumpkin is so sweet which is balanced out nicely by the bitterness of the silverbeet and don’t get me started on the crispy, cheesy topping. You’ll all be fighting over it.
You don’t need to be a neat cook to make lasagna either! If all of the ingredients are there, the flavour will be there. My good friend Nikki makes a beautiful version where each sheet of pasta is lined up nicely and is flush with the dish. She makes the best lasagna going round, but with this recipe – you really don’t need to worry too much.
A shout out, once again to my sister-in-law; Julia, AKA the Greenthumb, for the silverbeet. It really does inspire me to cook veggies when I have such fresh produce “in da house”.
pumpkin + silverbeet + ricotta lasagna
1/2 a butternut pumpkin, peeled and sliced as thinly as possible
Packet of fresh lasagna sheets
1 large bunch of silverbeet, finely chopped (or you could use Cavolo Nero, baby spinach or kale)
1 bottle of passata, 750ml
Chilli flakes, a good shake
1 brown onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tub of ricotta cheese, 250 grams
Juice of a lemon
1/2 cup of milk
1 cup of tasty cheese, grated
Salt, freshly cracked black pepper
Fresh nutmeg, grated (ground nutmeg is fine too)
Olive oil, 2 tablespoons
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and place the pumpkin in a single layer between the two. (The reason I use two baking trays is so that all of the pumpkin fits without overlapping). Season the pumpkin with salt and freshly cracked pepper and drizzle some olive oil over the top.
- Bake for approx 30 minutes or until cooked through. (I turn them over half way through the cooking process).
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, add a splash of olive oil and fry the garlic for a couple of minutes. Pour the passata in on top and heat through over a low heat. Sprinkle in some chilli flakes to taste. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the egg, ricotta, half of the grated cheese, lemon juice, nutmeg and milk. Set aside.
- In a fry pan, add a splash of olive oil and add the onion. Cook for a few minutes until it has cooked through but not browned. Add the silverbeet and a splash of water and let it cook, stirring, until the silverbeet has wilted. Set aside.
- Now it is time to assemble everything in a shallow, ovenproof dish.
- Smear some of the passata over the base of the lasagna dish, then layer the pumpkin, ricotta cheese mixture, pasta sheets and silverbeet and continue to do so until all ingredients are used up. (Really do not worry here about being too precise. If there are bits of pasta sheet sticking out between layers – they will only get lovely and crispy when cooked which adds to the dish).
- I like to finish with a layer of pasta sheet (which isn’t the norm) and then sprinkle the extra cheese on top. I like this because the pasta cooks and gets quite crispy. I think this texture adds to the overall success of this dish.
- Serve with a big, green leafy salad.
- In the past I have been scared off making lasagna because I always seemed to run out of white sauce before I got to the last layer, or I was too heavy handed with the meat which meant that I didn’t have perfect layers. I don’t think this matters. Just have a crack. The flavours really work well together.
- This dish freezes really well and tastes better the next day anyway so can be made ahead of time.
If you make this lasagna, send me a pic here as I would love to pop it up on the blog! xx