Hurray, it’s pumpkin and squash season! Love ‘em and love that each year the shops and markets seem to have more and more interesting varieties with their endless possibilities of tastes and dishes. But I suppose most of us buy the main varieties and the most popular and one of the tastiest is the Butternut Squash (the ‘peanut’ shaped one). Now I must admit we never had pumpkin at home as I grew up. Just wasn’t on the food horizon as far as we were concerned and that probably went for most of the population at the time. My first real pumpkin experience was in Australia when a friend made a silky delicious pumkin soup when she heard I had never eaten it. Ever since I’ve been a fan and have posted recipes using pumkins or squashes here and here.
This dish is one I made recently and it went down a treat here. Layers of chunky soft roasted butternut squash (you can of course use any pumpkin you fancy but the butternut is my favourite for this), soft sweet leeks in a tomato sauce and a tangy creamy goats cheese sauce all given structure with sheets of pasta. Glorious. The cheese sauce is a quick-to-make cheaty version but it still tastes great and when it comes out all golden and bubbly from the oven all it needs is a crisp green salad sprinkled with more toasted pumpkin seeds and you’ll have a happy table.
Butternut Squash Lasagne
1 butternut squash of at least 1.25 Kg
1 packet of dried no-soak lasagne sheets
1 onion, finely diced
1 leek, washed and finely sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 tin of chopped plum tomatoes
600 ml whole milk
125 g soft goats cheese (choose a rindless goats cheese)
30 g butter
2 tablespoons flour
3 – 4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
pinch chilli flakes
pumpkin seeds to toast (optional)
salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to Gas 6 / 200C / 400F and place a baking tray in the oven.
Peel, deseed and dice up the pumpkin. Toss the pumpkin in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place diced pumpkin on the heated tray in oven for 15 – 20 mins till the pieces begin to colour at the edges. Remove from oven and turn the oven temperature down to Gas 4 / 180C /
Cook the onion and leek in a pan over a medium flame with a tablespoon of olive oil.
When they begin to soften add the garlic and cook for a further minute before adding the tomatoes. Season and add a pinch of chilli flakes before removing from heat.
Meanwhile make the cheese sauce by putting butter, flour and milk, all cold, in a saucepan and heat up together whisking as the butter melts. You’ll end up with a lump-free sauce with this short-cut method. When the sauce thickens, add the cheese. Taste and season.
Now build up the lasagne. In a suitable rectangle dish start by smearing a couple of tablespoons of the tomato leek sauce on the bottom. Then cover the base with a layer of pasta sheets, then a layer of pumpkin, a sprinkling of fresh sage leaves (substitute with another fresh aromatic herb if fresh sage not available), then a layer of tomato sauce followed by a little cheese sauce (remember you will need to top the dish with cheese sauce). Top with a layer of lasagne sheets and repeat until pumpkin and tomato sauce is used up (2 -3 layers). You need to end up with a layer of pasta. Top this pasta layer with the remainder of the cheese sauce.
Bake in the oven for around 60 minutes until all is bubbling and the top is a golden brown.
Serve with a scattering of toasted pumpkin seeds and a green salad with a vinaigrette dressing.