Thursday, February 1, 2007

Good food and great friends

We are very fortunate to have a large number of close friends who live in the fifteen miles around us. We're in the center of the city, so it's usually not a problem for people to be willing to come see us. It probably helps that I'm always willing to make them dinner if they are able to join us!

I invited a few friends over tonight, because I wanted to make a pumpkin lasagna recipe I've been developing. It's a good recipe to share because a) it makes a lot of tasty food, and b) it makes a lot of tasty food that is not terribly low in calories, and my husband and I don't need to eat 8 servings of leftover lasagna later!

We took a quick snapshot of dinner . . . too quick, as the aperture was wrong. Oh, well--you can still get the idea.

Easy Pumpkin Lasagna

(Pureed butternut squash would work too if you don’t like or can't eat pumpkin.)

1 yellow onion

1 T. olive oil

15 oz. of pumpkin, pureed (or 1 can)

1 lb. ricotta cheese (1 tub)

1 c. parmesan cheese, divided in half

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ginger

2 tsp. sage

salt and pepper

1 1b. whole-wheat lasagna noodles (12 sheets of noodles–no-boil okay to use)

2/3 c. pine nuts

5 oz. fresh spinach (1 box) . . . or a defrosted loose-pack bag of frozen spinach

1 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese

16 oz. butternut squash soup (1 small box--only if you are using no-boil lasagna)

Preheat the oven to 375.

If you are using lasagna noodles that need boiling, put a very large pot of water on to boil. Salt the water.

Chop your onion pretty finely, and put olive oil in a (preferably non-stick) saucepan at med-high. When the oil is hot, add the onion. Cook five minutes, stirring regularly, and reduce the heat to low. Stir occasionally until onion is soft and has started to caramelize–or until whenever the rest of your meal is ready to put together.

Mix together in a large bowl the ingredients from pumpkin to pepper, using only half of the Parmesan. Stir in your sauteed onions.

In a dry non-stick pan or in your toaster oven, toast your pine nuts for 2-3 minutes on med. heat, tossing once. (Cook until they start to brown.)

When the water for your noodles is boiling, add the noodles, and cook according to the lower time on the box directions (usually about 8 minutes).

Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Put a little of the pumpkin mixture in the bottom and spread it around.

Put a layer of noodles down, and spread a layer of pumpkin. Sprinkle it with pine nuts, spinach--use more than you might think, as it shrinks incredibly--and mozzarella. Continue layering until your ingredients are used up. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top of the lasagna, and pour on a coating of your butternut squash soup. (Don't use the soup if you pre-boiled your lasagna noodles.)

Bake 40-45 minutes–until lasagna is bubbling well and cheese on top is melted and beginning to brown.

We served the lasagna with some red Russian kale, which I chopped (removing the stems) and steamed with garlic and herbs. One of our dinner guests said that the slightly bitter kale was the perfect accompaniment to the slightly sweet lasagna.

With five of us eating dinner, we still had four leftover servings to freeze, but that's not so bad! My husband will probably eat three servings of the leftovers in the next four days.


lisa jane said...

yum yum yum
I really like your recipes,i have to stop being so lazy and put some paper in my printer or right them down.
by the way your pictures are always gorgeous,i originally thought they were out of a recipe book or something :)

the veggie paparazzo said...

Lisa, if you try any of them, please report back on what you think! Though last night's recipe took a little longer total, I try to make recipes that take less than an hour before they are ready. We get home from work hungry!

Thanks for the compliment on the pictures. My husband, who is quite a talented photographer, takes most of them.

metamorphose said...


PearShapedGirl said...

Yuuummmmmmm! Your recipes always make my mouth water! Too bad my husband is scared of a lot of adventurous dishes... but when and if I try something daring, I'll let you know what we think!

Take care and have a great weekend!

the veggie paparazzo said...

Pear, maybe you should try sneaking in some squash with the mac'n'cheese recipe and see if he notices! I'm sure your husband has 1000 lovely qualities, but I could never have married a picky eater--I'd go insane!