Travel is as much about new tastes as it is about new sites and sounds. Food, coffee and wine tend to be the highlights of my trips and there is nothing sadder than going home and realizing you are no longer eating Costa Rican Gallo Pinto every morning for breakfast, or enjoying some Italian gelato as an afternoon snack (and then after dinner dessert).
So to recapture the flavors of my recent trip to Argentina, I've decided to bake a pumpkin lasagna.
Yes, pumpkin lasagna. As a vegetarian in Argentina, I found little options when it came to food, which meant I was eating a lot of Italian. Argentinians use a lot of pumpkin and squash in their vegetarian Italian dishes. I'm pretty sure pumpkin was the main player in all those non-pizza dishes I consumed. And while skeptical that pumpkin could work so well with pasta; I was quickly persuaded that it was indeed a tasty combination.
So here is my recipe for pumpkin lasagna.
What you'll need:
No bake lasagna noodles
Red pasta sauce
1 Head of spinach
Two garlic cloves
1 can of pumpkin puree
15 oz can of ricotta
2 cups of Mozzarella
Chop the onion and slice the zucchini really thin. Take the stems off the spinach, wash it and set it aside. In a pan, sauté the onions and zucchini until the onions start caramelizing, add some salt and pepper and then throw in the spinach until it wilts down. Set aside.
In a separate bowl mix the ricotta cheese (15 oz), mozzarella (1 and 1/4 cup) and an egg. Make sure you set aside ¾ of a cup of mozzarella to top the lasagna at the end.
In a large dish, place two large spoonfuls of marinara sauce so that there is a thin layer covering the bottom of the whole pan. Lay down the noodles in one layer.
On top of this place half the ricotta/mozzarella/egg mixture. Then layer on half of the vegetable mixture - zucchini, onion and spinach - followed by half the can of pumpkin puree. Pour ⅓ of the pasta sauce on top of this and spread gently with a spoon.
Lay down some more lasagna noodles and repeat the steps above.
Once your second layer is complete, top with the final set of noodles (you will likely have extra noodles left in your box). Cover completely with the remaining sauce. You want to make sure the noodles stay hydrated and don’t dry out the top of the lasagna.
Bake covered at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.
After the 40 minutes remove the cover and then sprinkle the ¾ cup of mozzarella on top. Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes.
Once removed from the oven, let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.