A delicious take on the classic lasagne.
- 600g butternut pumpkin, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
- 60ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
- 60g unsalted butter, plus extra to grease
- 2 tbs sage leaves, finely chopped
- 500g Italian sausages, casings removed
- 250g fresh lasagne sheets
- 200g mozzarella, coarsely grated
- 100g Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated
- 50g unsalted butter
- 50g plain flour
- 500ml milk
- 200ml good-quality chicken stock
- 1 dried bay leaf
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a large oven tray and line with baking paper.
- Drizzle the cut side of the pumpkin with the olive oil and season to taste. Place the cut sides down on the prepared tray and bake for 1 hour or until cooked and very soft to touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel and discard skin and crush the cooked pumpkin and set aside. This step can be done 1 day ahead.
- Meanwhile, for the bechamel sauce, place the butter in a medium non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Once butter has melted, scatter over the flour and stir continuously for 2 minutes or until the flour is toasted but with no colour. Slowly pour in the milk and whisk continuously until smooth. Whisk in the chicken stock followed by the bay leaf and bring to a gentle simmer. Once the mixture has bubbled, turn off the heat, remove and discard the bay leaf and cover the surface of the bechamel directly with plastic wrap or baking paper. (This will keep the mixture hot and without forming a skin.) Keep in a warm place and set aside.
- Place a large frypan with the butter over high heat. Scatter over sage and cook, stirring continuously, for 30 seconds. Add the sausage meat and cook, breaking meat up with the back of a spoon, for 10-12 minutes until the meat is in small pieces and has browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
- To assemble the lasagne, grease an ovenproof dish with extra butter. Spoon a thin layer of bechamel over the base of the dish. Place a layer of pasta over the sauce, trimming lasagne sheets to fit. Spoon over one-third of the crushed pumpkin, followed by one-third of the bechamel sauce, and sprinkle with one-third of the mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Season, then cover with another layer of pasta. Next, halve the sausage mix and sprinkle half on this layer followed by another one- third of bechamel and another one-third of the mozzarella and Parmigiano- Reggiano. Season. Repeat another pumpkin layer and another sausage layer. The last layer will be pasta with pumpkin dotted on top and the remaining bechamel, parmesan and mozzarella. Drizzle with the extra olive oil and cover with foil.
- Return to 180°C oven. Bake for 1 hour until pasta is cooked through. Remove the foil, and switch the oven to overhead grill function and preheat to high. Grill lasagne on top shelf for 6-8 minutes until golden and bubbling. Remove from oven and stand for 15 minutes before serving.