August 25, 2009

Roast pumpkin, spinach and fetta lasagna

Yesterday I decided I needed to use up the big lump of pumpkin and two bunches of spinach which had been sitting in my fridge. This is what I came up with:

  • 250g pack instant lasagna or enough for 5 layers in the dish you will be using
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese to top
For the pumpkin layer
  • olive oil
  • 1.2kg pumpkin, skinned and cubed
  • 5 cloves garlic, in skins [I love garlic. A lot. You may want to just put in one or two.]
  • salt, pepper
For the spinach layer
  • 30g butter
  • 2 bunches big leafy (Savoy) spinach, stems removed (~550g stemless green leaves)
  • 120g feta, crumbled
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts, dry toasted
  • nutmeg to taste
White sauce
  • 90g butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 500mL milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • nutmeg, salt, pepper to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and add a few tbsp of olive oil to a shallow baking dish
  2. Peel and cube the pumpkin into 1.5"ish cubes. Put them into the dish with the the garlic and toss in oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place baking dish in the oven for approximately 40 minutes, until pumpkin is cooked through. Leave the oven on. When it is done, slip the garlic out of its papery shell and mash the pumpkin and garlic together (not to a paste, you want a little lumpy consistency). Pour off any excess liquid, or add a little oil if it is too dry.
  4. While the pumpkin is roasting, wash the stemmed spinach leaves in three changes of water. Shake (or spin) dry.
  5. Melt the butter in a large frying or saucepan. Add a sprinkle of nutmeg and the spinach (can be done in two batches depending on the size of your pan). Cook for a few minutes, turning a few times so that it steams evenly.
  6. When the spinach is wilted and has lost most of its water, drain the spinach. Transfer it to a clean bowl, handful by handful, giving each one a good squeeze over the sink to get out as much juice as possible.
  7. Toast the pine nuts on a dry frying pan if you haven't already. Add them, along with the crumbled fetta cheese, to the spinach.
  8. Time to make the white sauce! Melt the butter over med-high heat. Add the flour and stir quickly for about a minute. Slowly add the milk, beating well after each addition so that it doesn't go lumpy. Pop in a bay leaf and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Keep stirring as the mixture boils and thickens. Turn the heat down to low and cook for a further five minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the grated Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Pour some hot water into a large bowl. You will be using this to soften the lasagna sheets. Spread the bottom of your lasagna baking dish with some white sauce. Dip the first layer of lasagna sheets in the hot water, then lay them on top of the white sauce. Spread half of the pumpkin mixture on top of this. Repeat the pasta layer, and then add half the spinach mixture. Next comes another pasta layer, then the rest of the pumpkin, then more lasagna, the rest of the spinach, and a final layer of lasagna. Pour the rest of the white sauce on top. Make sure the top pasta layer is completely covered with it, and let it run down the sides if there is any excess. Sprinkle top with grated Parmesan cheese.
  10. Pop in the oven (same temperature) for around 50 minutes. Test if it's done by sliding a fork or knife into the lasagna. There should be little resistance. The top should be crispy and brown. Yum.
  11. Admire your masterpiece. Serve with a simple fresh salad.

Serves 3-6. Tastes delightful reheated in the microwave. Just what I needed tonight, after realising I managed to leave my wallet on the bus. Fingers crossed it gets turned in!

Update: Somebody handed my wallet in, so I got it back! Hooray!

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