Pumpkin and Swiss chard lasagna

During one particularly ambitious October day in the Locavorious community kitchen, we washed, cut, de-seeded, roasted, scraped and pureed 55 pie pumpkins and 40 lbs of Long of Naples winter squash. Everything and everyone was orange and sticky. At the end of the day I was still not “pumpkin-ed out” and went home inspired to try new things with the pumpkin puree. After considering autumn dishes like pumpkin gnocchi and butternut squash ravioli, I thought – why not a pumpkin lasagna? The idea for the pumpkin-Swiss chard combo comes from a Food and Wine.com recipe. Including Swiss chard seemed like an excellent idea, especially since it’s a popular green thing in our house, but I thought the Food and Wine recipe lacked that ricotta-mozzarella richness of traditional lasagnas so loved in cold weather, so I moved the recipe in a comfy cheesy direction.

Most of our pumpkins came from Makielski Berry Farm just south of Ann Arbor on Platt Road; they are Sugar Baby and Mystic pie pumpkins. Locavorious also got some less common pumpkins from the Goetz’s – Long Island Cheese and Cinderella – less common but equally juicy and delicious. This year Capella Farm (right in Ann Arbor) and Green Bush Farm (Belleville) grew our Swiss chard. This recipe might work with the organic kale medley too.

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large onions, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

12 oz frozen Swiss chard, defrosted

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried sage

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

15 oz roasted pumpkin puree, defrosted

15 oz ricotta

2 cups shredded or chopped mozzarella

½ cup Parmesan + few Ts for top

3/4 cup cream or milk

12 whole wheat lasagna noodles – could also used no-boil or any sort of lasagna noodles

In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the chard, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon sage, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Cook, stirring a bit, until the chard is heated through, and no liquid remains in the pan, ~ 4 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Prepare the lasagna noodles (if necessary) and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together ~ 2/3rds of the pumpkin puree, the ricotta, mozzarella, a scant 1/2 cup Parmesan, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon sage, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and salt to taste. (I used ½ teas salt in the cheese mixture, but it could have used less.)

In a 9 x 13 or similar size baking dish, prepare the bottom to prevent sticking with either cooking spray, butter or pour in a little milk. Lay 3 noodles in the dish and then spread 1/3rd of the pumpkin-cheese mixture over the noodles. Spread 1/3rd of the Swiss chard mixture over the pumpkin. Repeat this noodle-pumpkin-chard layering two more times, and top with a final layer of noodles.

Next, combine the remaining pumpkin puree and 3/4 cup of cream or milk. Pour evenly over the top of the lasagna, sprinkle with the extra Parmesan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-40 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes more.

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