OK, but like hear me out. It’s lasagna, for the fall – pumpkin lasagna. And it’s freaking delicious! Lane was skeptical at first but then he ate almost all the leftovers soooo…he got on board real fast. And honestly I can’t blame him. I was a little nervous to add pumpkin to lasagna – but then I started adding in cheese and butter and it baked up into total noodle/squash/cheesy yumminess.
What makes this pumpkin lasagna different (and therefore better 😉) is that the pumpkin goes in to the ricotta mixture and then everything is covered a parmesan béchamel sauce. Yeah. That happened.
If you have never made a béchamel sauce before, don’t worry. I’m going to walk you through it and its actually really easy. This is a great sauce to master because you can mix it up in so many ways. Plus, it sounds super fancy, especially when you sing it in the Treseme commercial song (you know, “Treseme, Treseme ooh la la”). No? Just me?
Mmmmkay. Moving on. The béchamel sauce for the pumpkin lasagna. You take equal parts of butter and flour. First melt the butter in a saucepan then stir in the flour with a wooden spoon (it works best for incorporating the flour and butter together). As soon as it forms a paste, whisk in your milk (1 c of milk for every 2 T of butter and flour) slowly and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Turn it down and simmer the sauce until it reaches your desired level of thickness.
And that’s it – you now have a super fancy sounding white sauce. At this point you can add in cream, cheese, herbs, just about anything that you want. And people will think you’re an expert chef (which you kind of are!). And you are prepared to make this amazing pumpkin lasagna.
Of course I have some recipe notes and meal prep/make ahead ideas for ya:
- For meal prep: cook the ground beef ahead of time (can be stored in the fridge for 4 to 5 days), and make the sauce ahead of time (can be stored in the fridge for 3 days but you will likely need to thin it with some milk when you reheat it on the COOKTOP – do NOT reheat in the microwave, you might scald your milk; reheat on medium-low heat, stirring constantly)
- You can make the lasagna ahead of time and store it, unbaked, in the fridge for 1 day; it does not freeze unbaked very well because the white sauce will separate – you can bake it, take it out about 20 minutes before the bake time on the noodle package calls for, freeze it and then thaw and reheat it in the oven
- If you don’t have fresh rosemary sub in dried, no worries just use 1/4 t of dried rosemary
- This is not a super saucy lasagna because we prefer ours not swimming in sauce – but if you like lots of sauce for your lasagna then double the sauce recipe 🙃
- 1 pacakge of no boil lasagna noodles
- 12 oz ricotta cheese
- 1 can pumpkin
- 1/4 c parmesan cheese grated
- 1 egg
- 1/2 t nutmeg
- 1/2 t dried sage
- 1/2 t fresh rosemary or 1/4 t dried rosemary
- salt and pepper to taste, white pepper is delicious in this dish
- 2 c mozzarella cheese shredded, save 1/4 c to top your lasagna with
- 1 lb ground beef cooked and drained
For the Bechamel Sauce
- 2 T butter
- 2 T all-purpose flour
- 1 c milk
- 1/2 c parmesan cheese grated and divided
- 1/2 t nutmeg
- salt and pepper again, white pepper is great but black pepper works just fine too
- Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cookin spray and set aside. Check your pacakge of no boil lasagna noodles for baking instructions. Preheat oven according to instructions on the pasta package. Set noodles aside.
- In a medium bowl mix together: ricotta cheese, pumpkin, 1/4 c of parm, 1 egg, 1/2 t nutmeg, dried sage, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside along with the mozzarella cheese and cooked beef.
To Make the Sauce
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon just until a paste forms – do not let it brown.
- Slowly whisk in the milk and bring to a boil over medium-high heat while constantly whisking – you dont want your milk to scald or burn. Once your sauce begins bubbling, turn the heat down to low and allow it to simmer while whisking frequently.
- Let sauce simmer until it reaches the thickness you would like – no more than 20 minutes. I usually find that my sauce is ready after about 10 or 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Stir in 1/4 c of parm, 1/2 t of nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.
- In your prepared baking dish spead a tiny bit of the pumpkin ricotta mixture on the bottom. Spread some ricotta mixture on a dried noodle and place in the pan. Repeat until you have the bottom of the pan covered in 1 layer of noodles spread with the ricotta mixture (you may need to break some noodles in half). Top the noodles with some of the mozzarella cheese, some of the ground beef, and some of the sauce. Repeat until you have used all the noodles, spreading out the ricotta mixture, mozzarella, ground beef, and sauce evenly among each layer. Top the finished layers with the remaining 1/4 c of mozzarella and parm.
- Bake according to the instructions on the pasta box. Enjoy!
Just consider this a delicious little internet trust exercise between invisible friends.
If you make this Pumpkin Lasagna…
Please share your results – leave a comment below and post a photo on Instagram with #braisedinakitch for a chance to be featured in my Instagram stories!