Friday, 1 April 2011

Pumpkin and Goats Cheese Lasagne

One of my two favourite vegetarian lasagne recipes, this combines sweet roasted pumpkin with soft goats cheese and a garlicy tomato sauce into a taste explosion. I've adapted it from my memory of a Nigella Lawson recipe; hers is in her Christmas book and uses butternut squash. As usual, I used a Crown Prince - still £3 per 4 kg pumpkin in the market!


  • 1.2-1.4 kg good pumpkin, unpeeled weight
  • 2 tsp dried or fresh thyme or rosemary
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 x 400g tins of tomatoes (chopped or plum)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 250g of fresh lasagne sheets, or 180g dried
  • 375g of soft, white rindless goat's cheese
  • Parmesan cheese

Peel the pumpkin, discard any string and seeds, and chop into large (~1.5") pieces. Toss with the herbs, 1 tsp of salt and a little vegetable oil; roast at 200C for 35 minutes until tender and caramelised. Meanwhile, finely chop the onions and fry over a low heat for 10 minutes, until softened. Crush in the cloves of garlic and cook for a further minute. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and stir until the alcohol evaporates. Add the bay leaves, tomatoes and tomato purée; cover and bring to a simmer, then cook uncovered for 20 minutes until the tomatoes have broken up and the sauce has reduced by about 10%. Season to taste.

Pre-cook your lasagne sheets if they demand it. Slice the goat's cheese into rough ~cm-thick circles. In a deep lasagne dish, add:
  1. a few tbsp of tomato sauce
  2. lasagne
  3. tomato sauce
  4. half of the roast pumpkin
  5. lasagne
  6. tomato sauce
  7. half of the goat's cheese circles
  8. lasagne
  9. tomato sauce
  10. the rest of the pumpkin
  11. a layer of lasagne
  12. tomato sauce
  13. the rest of the goat's cheese circles
  14. a layer of lasagne
  15. a few tbsp of tomato sauce
  16. a generous grating of Parmesan cheese

(This is why I use a deep lasagne tray!) Cook in the oven at 170 C for 45 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. Rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting: if you can make this an hour ahead, it tastes better for it. It also keeps excellently in a cool place; somehow the flavours become even more sweet and delicious over time. We usually reheat it in pieces in the microwave, but if you plan to make it for guests on the following day, then you can cook it for 35 minutes the first time, chill until needed, then cook again in the oven for 35 minutes, rest for 10 minutes, then serve.

Tonight we served it with a shredded gem lettuce and a splash of balsamic vinegar, and garlic bread. I've never made garlic bread before, so I followed the excellent Joy of Cooking instructions. Take a baguette and slice it width-wise into circular coins - but don't cut all the way through the bread. Melt a few slices of butter in the microwave, and crush in a clove of garlic per person. Open each gap between the bread 'coins' and spoon in a little garlicy butter. Wrap in foil and bake at 200 C for twenty minutes, then bring to the table and unwrap in a cloud of garlicy steam. Yum!

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