Sweet pumpkin, earthy chestnut mushrooms, and strong, musky sage; super seasonal autumn flavours all come together in this dish. Eating it feels like sinking into massive feather duvet in front of a roaring fire whilst it snows outside.
The recipe makes enough to generously fill a 28cm enamel pie dish.
- Wholemeal Dried Lasagne Sheets (I prefer the slightly nutty taste)
- One Small Pumpkin (I prefer the Crown Prince variety)
- Five Large Cloves of Garlic (unpeeled)
- 250g Chestnut Mushrooms
- 250g Mascarpone Cheese
- 25g Butter
- 1 Small White Onion
- 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
- 25g Plain Flour
- 50g Parmesan or Pecorino Cheese
- Semi-Skimmed Milk (brought to room temperature)
- 1 tsp Nutmeg
- 1 tsp Dried Sage
- 1tsp Fennel Seeds
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- Salt and Cracked Black Pepper
- Dash of Worcester Sauce (optional)
- First, slice your pumpkin into wedges (use a big knife with a strong handle) and pop them into a baking tray. Drizzle them with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and the sage. Scatter in the unpeeled cloves and roast for 20 mins in a hot oven (220 degrees).
- Whilst the pumpkin is roasting, finely dice the onion and chop the chestnut mushrooms into small pieces – you’re trying to mimic the texture of coarse mince. Fry the onion in a little oil until translucent, then add the mushrooms and fry until they’ve lost their water and are soft and browned.
- When the pumpkin wedges have cooled, scoop the soft flesh off the skins and pop into a food processor. Squeeze in the softened garlic cloves, and blitz until smooth. Add the tomato puree, fennel seeds and a little water until you have a smooth consistency.
- In wide bottommed pan, mix the pureed pumpkin mix with the chestnut mushrooms and onions – if the mixture is too thick, add a little more water. You can add a dash of Worcester sauce to taste, if you like. Set aside.
- In a separate pan on a low heat, melt the butter, and add the flour whilst whisking to make a thick paste. Add the mascarpone and stir until it has melted – if this is too think, add room-temperature milk, slowly, to reach the consistency of a thick, creamy sauce. Add the nutmeg (use less or more if you like), and a few twists of cracked black pepper.
- Assembly time! Start with a layer of your pumpkin & mushrooms; lay dried pasta sheets on top (snap them to make them fit your dish), then cover with a thin layer of mascarpone sauce.
- Add another layer of pasta, followed by pumpkin, followed by pasta, and a final layer of mascarpone sauce.
- Cover the last layer of sauce with a generous dusting of finely grated parmesan or pecorino cheese.
- Pop into a hot oven for 20 – 25 minutes (long enough for the pasta to cook and for the cheese on top to go bubbly and golden.
If like me, you are greedy and can handle your portions, dish up half of the lasagne and eat it immediately – a cursory side salad is unwelcome here. A glass of red wine on the other hand… now we’re talking!