Monday, 28 October 2013

Pumpkin & Rosemary Lasagne

In my blog-browsing over the last few weeks, I have seen some incredible Halloween crafts, costumes and edible concoctions. I have been awed by other bloggers' creativity and talent and even though we've never really celebrated Halloween in my family, with the countdown to 31st October well and truly under way, I thought I should at least get into the spirit of things this year and do something pumpkin-like.

Way back around Easter time, we went to the annual Art Exhibition and Fair run by Ben's school and while we were there, we got chatting to his class teacher who gave us two of her very own home-grown Butternut pumpkins as a gift.

(depending on where you are from, you may actually know this as a Butternut squash. I found a brief, interesting article about the discord between Australia and New Zealand which resulted from the latter country changing the official name of the vegetable from pumpkin to squash and the ensuing bureaucratic repercussions. Who would have thought a name-change could cause such controversy?)

Anyway, by whatever name you wish to call them, they'd been sitting up on a self in our kitchen for the last six months waiting for me to think of a special use for them until his morning, when my endlessly exploring but not-quite-yet-walking baby girl went rampaging through the bookshelf and pulled out a whole heap of books. You know sometimes you find things on your bookshelf that you'd completely forgotten you ever had? The positive side of the chaos she caused was that I ended up revisiting loads of long-lost treasures. Among them was a recipe book which was compiled from recipes submitted by uni students at the University of Sydney in 2002, titled International Cookbook 2002. I didn't submit a recipe to it myself (quite possibly because the only recipe I knew back in 2002 was the one for disaster), but I bought a copy to support the Student Union.

I opened it up, started leafing through and stumbled upon a recipe for pumpkin and rosemary lasagne. I read it and immediately had an I have to make  this NOW moment. I followed the recipe more or less accurately, but since I don't really like being told what to do - in or out of the kitchen - I wasn't really particular with the quantities: I couldn't measure the exact weight of my pumpkins because Ben broke my kitchen scale weighing all his library books at once, but I guessed they weighed about a kilo each. I used about twice as much rosemary and garlic than it said to use, because we love both these ingredients and I absolutely doused the pumpkin in olive oil because, if there's one thing I learnt from living in Sicily, it's that you can never use too much olive oil.

When I took the cooked pumpkin, rosemary and garlic out of the oven, the most heavenly smell spread right through the house. I wish there was some form of olfactory technology available that could have let me bottle it and share it on this post. If you love your pumpkin and you love your lasagne, you're going to love this recipe too.

What you need:

2kg butternut pumpkin
2 sprigs of rosemary
3 pieces of crushed garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
60g butter (4 tbsp) 
4 cups milk
2 cups grated cheese
300 ml thickened cream
1 packet lasagne sheets (about 350g) *
6 tbsp flour *

* I used gluten-free lasagne sheets and gluten-free flour and they worked out fine.


1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit)

2. Peel and cut pumpkin into 2cm cubes.

3. In an oven tray, mix pumpkin, oil, garlic and torn off rosemary leaves and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Bake this mixture for about 30 minutes or until pumpkin is a little browned.

5. In the meantime, prepare the white sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan and add flour. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add the milk gradually and whisk all the while. Stir over medium heat until the sauce boils and thickens. Continue stirring while simmering for about 6 minutes.

6. Mix well with pumpkin mixture.

7. Assemble the lasagne, pumpkin mixture and cheese. There will probably be 4 layers. Finish with lasagne.

8. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top. Whip cream up a little then pour over the top. 

9. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes. 

The best part of all was seeing and hearing the reactions around the table when I served it - who would have thought that the two-and-a-half carnivorous men that I live with would appreciate a vegetarian meal so much?

So there it is: a divine pumpkiny treat, just in time for Halloween.

What's your favourite pumpkin recipe?

Linking up today with Alicia over at     Grab button for one mother hen

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