Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Pumpkin and goats cheese lasagne

We have builders in at the moment, restoring our bathroom after a deluge from a faulty shower in the 'Willy Wallace Backpackers' above us.  Thankfully it is all being paid by the insurance, which is quite a blessing!  However, I'm good with neither disorder nor dust, so this week is a real opportunity to develop some patience and good humour through a bit of 'stretching'...

I think this supper may help to restore my emotional equilibrium though: it is a bit of a crib from Nigella Lawson's Christmas book, released last year.  Her recipe consists of three sauces - a smooth tomato passata, pumpkin cooked in tomato, and a goats cheese and ricotta topping.  It also feeds about 20 people!  My version is greatly scaled down, it feeds 2 generously, and is rather more abstemious in the ingredients.  However, don't be put off!  It is perfect for a frosty autumn night.

A note on the pasta - I used dried lasagne sheets and was disappointed by the resulting clagginess.  Nigella uses fresh sheets in her recipe and I would recommend you do the same, as I will next time - they don't have to be hand made, check the chiller cabinet at the supermarket.

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage leaves, or a few fresh
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 plump cloves of garlic, squashed
  • 400g pumpkin (peeled and deseeded weight), chopped into 1 inch squares
  • Tin good quality chopped tomatoes
  • Pinch sugar
  • 1/2 bag prepared spinach
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 400ml full fat milk
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • Fresh nutmeg
  • Sheets fresh lasagne ( how many you will use will depend on the dimensions of your dish)
  • 1 goats cheese (I used a fairly soft rindless one from Somerset)
  • Heat a little olive oil with the sage leaves in a large saucepan.  Once the heat and scent rise up, add the garlic and onion with a pinch of salt, and cook gently for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent and soft.
  • Add the cubed pumpkin and stir to coat with oil, then throw in the chopped tomatoes.  
  • Season the tomatoes with a little sugar, and some salt and pepper.  Depending on the brand of tomatoes you may want to add about 1/4 cup water.
  • Bring the pumpkin to a hearty simmer, and allow to cook for about 30 minutes, until the pumpkin is soft to the point of a knife but not collapsing, and the tomatoes have reduced a little to form a thickish sauce.  Once it is ready, add the spinach leaves, gently stirring and tamping them down with your spoon until they wilt into the sauce.
  • Meanwhile, heat the milk gently to body temperature.
  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan.  Stir in the flour until a smooth paste forms, then cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes until the colour darkens slightly.
  • Start to add the milk, stirring well after each addition so that no lumps form, until all the milk has been incorporated.
  • Keep the heat steady and stir continuously for around 10 minutes until a thick bechamel has formed.  The white sauce will form a coat on the back of a wooden spoon when it is ready.
  • Remove the sauce from the heat and quickly beat in all the parmesan, with nutmeg and salt to taste.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F.
  • In your favorite lasagne dish (we all have one) start to layer the pasta - start with a good slosh of the pumpkin, top with pasta sheets, then smooth on some bechamel and crumbled goats cheese, top with some more pumpkin and lasagne.  Keep layering - how many layers you make will depend on whether your baking dish is wide and shallow or narrow and tall.  Finish with a good covering of the last of the pumkin.
  • Finally, break up the remaining goats cheese all over the surface and pop into the oven.
  • Cook for 20 minutes or until the tomato and bechamel sauces are bubbling up the sides and the goats cheese is brown.


  1. Yummy! I have some pumpkin that needs using up and this looks just the ticket. Sounds like such a great combo. You can always rely on Nigella! :D

  2. Great way to use pumpkin! Thanks for sharing:)

  3. Nora, I couldn't agree more! Nigella is my go to girl for inspiration and all things yummy :-) Glad you both like the recipe!

  4. I've been meaning to try this recipe from NC. I have anoher pumpkin to use up so maybe I will give it a go and stick it in the freezer for the Christmas period. Its been 9 months since I've been able to eat goats cheese - Ive missed it