A great way to use up vegetable scraps and that half-used box of lasagne sheets with an elastic band holding it together.
According to Google, it is lasagna for one sheet of said pasta and lasagne for more than one sheet of lasagna. However you choose to say it, this is a beautiful variation of the classic dish when you feel like a lighter version.
500 g pumpkin (preferably Kent or Japanese)
½ teaspoon nutmeg
250 g good quality ricotta cheese
150 g frozen spinach (2/3 bunch if fresh)
good handful fresh basil
100 g freshly grated Parmesan or Grana Padano
approx. 9 lasagne sheets (I used Barilla sheets with no pre-cooking required)
400 g can diced tomatoes
half a bunch asparagus
sea salt and ground black pepper
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 180°C. Peel and cut the pumpkin up into small chunks, removing all seeds, and place into a medium-sized pot of salted cold water. Boil on a medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until tender. If you have time and can be bothered, roasting the pumpkin with olive oil, nutmeg and seasoning makes it even tastier.
Step 2: While the pumpkin is cooking, prepare the ricotta mixture. Cook the spinach in either a microwave or boiling water, then drain off as much water as possible and allow to cool for a few minutes. Mix the spinach with the ricotta in a small bowl, adding about 80 g of the grated cheese, 2/3 of the basil, roughly chopped, and season to taste. You can also add pine nuts, dill and/or a bit of grated lemon rind to this mixture, for next level flavour. Set aside.
Step 3: Prepare the asparagus by washing and chopping the woody ends off, then cutting the pieces into thirds. Halve any of the chunky pieces lengthways.
Step 4: When the pumpkin is cooked, mash it well in the pot or baking tray. If boiling your pumpkin, add a drizzle of oil to help with the mashing, season to taste and add a little nutmeg.
Step 5: Add the canned tomatoes to a small saucepan over a medium heat. Once heated through, season well and add the remaining basil, then turn off the heat.
Step 6: Assemble the lasagne in a medium-sized baking tray, about 3 cm deep. First, add a drizzle of olive oil and a thin layer of the tomato sauce. Then, add lasagne sheets to cover. I was able to fit two horizontally and one vertically, but of course this depends on your tray. Spoon the pumpkin puree over the sheets and spread out evenly. Add another layer of lasagne sheets, then the ricotta mixture. I add a little extra grated cheese on top for more comfort, but please add to taste. Another layer of lasagne sheets is placed on top of this layer and then the remaining sauce. Add the asparagus pieces in any way you wish and then the remaining cheese on top. Place into the hot oven and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the top is crispy and the sheets are tender when you pierce them with a fork. Set aside and drizzle with a little olive oil before serving.
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