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Pumpkin and Goat's Cheese Lasagne

by . Featured in NIGELLA CHRISTMAS
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Introduction

One of the questions I am asked most often is how do I come up with recipes? The answer is simple: greed. When I'm not eating, I'm thinking about what I might want to eat, and the notion of pumpkin lasagne came into my head when speculo-salivating, and it found its way from my head to my kitchen to my stomach with gratifying ease.
This is an easy lasagne to make in that, unlike a traditional meat one, there are not two sauces to do in advance. I simply cook the pumpkin earlier and layer it up with fresh lasagne sheets (bought in vacuum packs from the supermarket) that don't need pre-cooking and an easy cheese and egg mixture.
Don't be put off by the length of the recipe that follows. It takes longer to explain than to do!

One of the questions I am asked most often is how do I come up with recipes? The answer is simple: greed. When I'm not eating, I'm thinking about what I might want to eat, and the notion of pumpkin lasagne came into my head when speculo-salivating, and it found its way from my head to my kitchen to my stomach with gratifying ease.
This is an easy lasagne to make in that, unlike a traditional meat one, there are not two sauces to do in advance. I simply cook the pumpkin earlier and layer it up with fresh lasagne sheets (bought in vacuum packs from the supermarket) that don't need pre-cooking and an easy cheese and egg mixture.
Don't be put off by the length of the recipe that follows. It takes longer to explain than to do!

Image of Nigella's Pumpkin and Goat's Cheese Lasagne
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Serves: 12-15

Metric Cups

For the pumpkin filling:

  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons olive oil
  • 30 grams butter
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 2 onions (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 2¼ kilograms pumpkin (peeled, deseeded and cut into 3cm /1-in rough cubes) - this is about half a decent-sized pumpkin, a proper eating one, not the Hallowe'een kind. When prepared, it yields just under 2 kilos
  • 75 millilitres vermouth or white wine
  • 60 millilitres water
  • 1 x 400 grams can chopped tomatoes
  • salt
  • pepper

For the tomato sauce:

  • 1 x 700 grams (700ml) bottle tomato passata
  • 500 millilitres water
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons sugar
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons maldon salt or 1 x 15ml tablespoon table salt
  • good grinding of pepper

For the cheese layer:

  • 450 grams soft fresh goat's cheese (chevre)
  • 500 grams ricotta cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • good grating of fresh nutmeg
  • 600 grams fresh lasagne sheets
  • 2 balls mozzarella
  • 125 grams pinenuts (toasted in a hot dry pan)
  • salt
  • pepper

For the pumpkin filling:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 2 onions (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 12 cups pumpkin (peeled, deseeded and cut into 3cm /1-in rough cubes) - this is about half a decent-sized pumpkin, a proper eating one, not the Hallowe'een kind. When prepared, it yields just under 2 kilos
  • ⅓ cup vermouth or white wine
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 x 14 ounces can diced tomatoes
  • salt
  • pepper

For the tomato sauce:

  • 3 cups (700ml) bottle tomato passata
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt flakes or 1 x 15ml tablespoon table salt
  • good grinding of pepper

For the cheese layer:

  • 1 pound soft fresh goat's cheese (chevre)
  • 1 ¾ cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • good grating of fresh nutmeg
  • 12 fresh lasagne sheets
  • ½ pound mozzarella
  • 1 cup pinenuts (toasted in a hot dry pan)
  • salt
  • pepper

Method

To make the pumpkin filling

  1. Heat the oil and butter in a shallow casserole and fry the sage leaves over a gentle heat for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the pan and fry very gently for another 10 minutes or so.
  3. Add the pumpkin pieces, turn well in the oniony oil and, after about 5 minutes, add the vermouth (or wine), the water and chopped tomatoes. Simmer, covered, for an hour, stirring occasionally so the pumpkin cooks evenly. Taste for seasoning - I tend to add quite a bit of salt here - and leave to cool.

For the tomato sauce

  1. Simply pour the passata and water into a large jug or bowl, and stir in the sugar, salt and pepper, whisking it all together.

To make up the cheese layer

  1. In a separate bowl beat the goat’s cheese and ricotta with the eggs, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/gas mark 6/400°F, slipping in a baking sheet as you do.
  3. To assemble the lasagne, begin by putting 500ml / 2 cups of the cold tomato sauce in the bottom of a roasting tin (measuring approx. 36cm x 26cm x 6cm / 14 x 10 x 2 1/2 inches).
  4. Then layer with a third of the lasagne sheets, overlapping them well (Italians do it with the tin horizontal but the pasta vertical, if that makes sense, but I don't know that it truly matters...). Leave the rest of the tomato sauce aside for the time being.
  5. Layer a third of the pumpkin filling over the lasagne, and dollop on a third of the cheese mixture, coaxing with a rubber spatula. It won't cover completely; think more of spreading blobs out. Then start again with a layer of lasagne, followed by pumpkin, then the cheese. Repeat once more - lasagne, pumpkin, and the last of the cheese mixture.
  6. Pour the remaining cold tomato sauce over, letting it sink down and be absorbed in the layers.
  7. Slice and chop the mozzarella balls and dot over the top.
  8. Cook in the oven, on the baking sheet, for 1 hour. Once cooked, take out of the oven and let it stand for 15 - 30 minutes to make cutting and serving easier. (I love this when it's stood for an hour or so, too.) As you cut and slice, you will notice a shallow tomatoey cheesey pool at the bottom of the tin; bread dunked into this is gorgeous.
  9. Sprinkle the toasted pine nuts over the lasagne, and cut into squares to serve.

To make the pumpkin filling

  1. Heat the oil and butter in a shallow casserole and fry the sage leaves over a gentle heat for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the pan and fry very gently for another 10 minutes or so.
  3. Add the pumpkin pieces, turn well in the oniony oil and, after about 5 minutes, add the vermouth (or wine), the water and diced tomatoes. Simmer, covered, for an hour, stirring occasionally so the pumpkin cooks evenly. Taste for seasoning - I tend to add quite a bit of salt here - and leave to cool.

For the tomato sauce

  1. Simply pour the passata and water into a large jug or bowl, and stir in the sugar, salt and pepper, whisking it all together.

To make up the cheese layer

  1. In a separate bowl beat the goat’s cheese and ricotta with the eggs, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/gas mark 6/400°F, slipping in a baking sheet as you do.
  3. To assemble the lasagne, begin by putting 500ml / 2 cups of the cold tomato sauce in the bottom of a roasting tin (measuring approx. 36cm x 26cm x 6cm / 14 x 10 x 2 1/2 inches).
  4. Then layer with a third of the lasagne sheets, overlapping them well (Italians do it with the tin horizontal but the pasta vertical, if that makes sense, but I don't know that it truly matters...). Leave the rest of the tomato sauce aside for the time being.
  5. Layer a third of the pumpkin filling over the lasagne, and dollop on a third of the cheese mixture, coaxing with a rubber spatula. It won't cover completely; think more of spreading blobs out. Then start again with a layer of lasagne, followed by pumpkin, then the cheese. Repeat once more - lasagne, pumpkin, and the last of the cheese mixture.
  6. Pour the remaining cold tomato sauce over, letting it sink down and be absorbed in the layers.
  7. Slice and chop the mozzarella balls and dot over the top.
  8. Cook in the oven, on the baking sheet, for 1 hour. Once cooked, take out of the oven and let it stand for 15 - 30 minutes to make cutting and serving easier. (I love this when it's stood for an hour or so, too.) As you cut and slice, you will notice a shallow tomatoey cheesey pool at the bottom of the tin; bread dunked into this is gorgeous.
  9. Sprinkle the toasted pine nuts over the lasagne, and cut into squares to serve.

Additional Information

I use a soft goat's cheese log, sold as Chevrissime blanc, that has no skin and a texture more like that of a goat's curd cheese.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE

Up to 2 days ahead, make the pumpkin filling, leave to cool and keep, covered, in the fridge. Make the cheese layer and keep, covered, in the fridge. When ready to use, assemble the lasagne and cook as directed.

FREEZE NOTE

Cook, cool and freeze the cooked pumpkin for up to 1 week. Thaw overnight in the fridge. When ready to use, assemble the lasagne and cook as directed.

I use a soft goat's cheese log, sold as Chevrissime blanc, that has no skin and a texture more like that of a goat's curd cheese.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE

Up to 2 days ahead, make the pumpkin filling, leave to cool and keep, covered, in the fridge. Make the cheese layer and keep, covered, in the fridge. When ready to use, assemble the lasagne and cook as directed.

FREEZE NOTE

Cook, cool and freeze the cooked pumpkin for up to 1 week. Thaw overnight in the fridge. When ready to use, assemble the lasagne and cook as directed.

Tell us what you think

What 3 Others have said

  • So long to prepare. So many bowls and dishes. So entirely worth it!

    Posted by Mikael on 22nd August 2018
  • I tried this delicious and easy to follow recipe last weekend and it was a real success amongst my guests!

    Posted by Didine on 3rd November 2017
  • This looks so good! I love pumpkin and goat's cheese but never thought about putting those together. Definitely trying this recipe.

    Posted by WenBee on 28th October 2017
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