Italians love using zucca, or pumpkin, in cooking so much that they are actually the 8th largest producer of pumpkins in the world. Pumpkins, along with other types of seasonal squash, are especially loved in Venezia, where they have been grown since the 5th century. Early Venetians would cultivate zucca in the autumn, but eat it throughout the year, since it keeps for some time. We believe in following their example.
Indeed, as great Italian food relies on fantastic, fresh ingredients, Italian chefs are somewhat particular when sourcing ingredients. In this recipe, we call for beautiful squash, treasured for its nutritional value and dense, sweet flesh. Whilst this recipe may call for in-season, British pumpkin, the recipe is emphatically Italian: alongside zucca we have a beautiful, sage-infused besciamella, layered into a rich, warming and vegetarian lasagne.
Our pumpkin lasagne with sage besciamella recipe
Prep Time: 75 minutes (including the fresh lasagne sheets)
Cooking Time: 65 minutes
Calories per serving: 804kcal
For the pumpkin filling
- 1 large pumpkin, halved and deseeded
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup vegetarian Italian hard cheese
- 100ml vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the sage béchamel
- 600 ml of milk
- 60g plain flour
- 60g butter
- Generous grating of nutmeg
- 1-2 sage leaves
- Salt and black pepper to season
For the lasagne
- Prepare the fresh egg pasta dough for your lasagne sheets following the video tutorial below:
To make the pumpkin filling
- While your dough is resting, prepare the pumpkin
- Halve the pumpkin and remove the seeds with a large spoon.
- Generously oil both halves of the pumpkin, before placing skin side up on a parchment lined baking tray. Pierce the skin a few times.
- Roast in a preheated oven at 180C for 40-50 minutes, until the skin is visibly tender. Once cooked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Once cool enough to handle, scoop the softened flesh into a food processor, as well as the salt, pepper and cheese. Pulse, gradually adding vegetable stock as necessary to obtain a smooth puree.
To make your béchamel
- While your pumpkin is roasting, prepare the béchamel. Over a low heat, add the milk and sage leaves to a saucepan. Allow to simmer, so the sage gently infuses the milk. Melt the butter in a new saucepan and add flour. Whisk until combined and cook on low heat for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually add the milk (having discarded the sage leaf) stirring continuously until thickened. Season with nutmeg, salt and black pepper to taste, and set aside.
Watch Roberta making a traditional béchamel sauce in our video guide:
To finish off your lasagne
- Prepare your fresh lasagne sheets using your rested dough, following our simple lasagne sheet recipe. Leave your formed lasagne sheets on a floured surface to dry slightly, for around five minutes.
- To assemble the lasagne, spoon a thin layer of the pumpkin mixture on the bottom of a medium-sized baking dish. Top with a layer of lasagne sheets. Follow this with another layer of pumpkin, followed by your sage béchamel. Finish the layer with the (optional) sliced mozzarella and a sprinkling of hard cheese. Repeat these steps (pasta, pumpkin, béchamel and cheese), until you have used up your ingredients. There should be around 5 layers of pasta. Top the lasagne with a generous amount of cheese.
- Cook the lasagne at 180℃ for 20-30 minutes. Our Head Chef Roberta recommends covering your dish with aluminium foil for the first 10-15 mins, to ensure that the lasagne doesn't dry out in the oven.
- Remove from the oven and leave to stand for at least 5 minutes. Slice into equal-sized portions and serve with a scattering of hard cheese. Buon appetito.