Pumpkin is delicious, healthy and versatile - and it is in season. Enjoy our favourite recipes for the autumn's most iconic vegetable. You can even use those pumpkins, that will be languishing on the windowsill during your Halloween party.
90ml extra virgin olive oil
1kg pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed, cubed
paprika, to taste
freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
250g fresh ricotta cheese
250g green lasagne pasta sheets
25g grated parmesan cheese, or vegetarian parmesan-style grating cheese
For the béchamel sauce: 55g butter, 55g plain flour and 350ml milk
Preheat the oven to 180C. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan. Add the pumpkin and cook, covered, stirring gently from time to time, until the pumpkin is tender, up to one hour. Season the pumpkin with plenty of paprika, a grating of nutmeg, freshly ground black pepper and a little salt, to taste. Add the ricotta cheese while it's still on the heat. Stir well then remove from the heat. Cover and allow mixture to stand. For the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan without letting it brown. Add the flour little by little, stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming. When the flour has evenly absorbed the butter, continue to cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes. Add the 350ml milk a little at a time, strirring constantly to make a smooth, thick and creamy sauce. Season. Arrange a layer of lasagne pasta sheets in the bottom of a large ovenproof dish. Spoon over a third of the pumpkin mixture. Lay more pasta sheets over the top, followed by another layer of pumpkin and another layer of pasta, followed by a final layer of the pumpkin mixture. Finish with a layer of lasagne pasta sheets. Pour the 150ml milk over the top and allow it to drain through to all pasta layers. Bake for ten minutes in the preheated oven, remove and spread the béchamel sauce on top. Bake for a further 15-20 minutes or until all the milk has been absorbed by the pasta and the lasagne looks cooked and is beginning to go crisp. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with parmesan and place back in the oven for a few minutes - take care not to burn the pasta or the béchamel on top. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
If you love pumpkin pie, you will love this cocktail! Spiced pumpkin is shaken with rum, maple liqueur and single cream, served in a crumbed biscuit rimmed martini glass and garnished with whipped cream.
Ingredients (for 1 glass):
1 digestive biscuit, crushed into fine crumbs
3 tablespoons pureed pumpkin
1 pinch pumpkin pie spice
3 tablespoons rum
1 tablespoon maple liqueur, such as Macallan amber whisky liqueur
1 tablespoon single cream
2 tablespoons whipped cream
Pour the digestive biscuit onto a small, shallow plate. Moisten the rim of 1 chilled martini glass and dip the moistened glass into the digestive biscuit; set aside. Pour the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, rum, maple liqueur and single cream into a cocktail shaker over ice. Cover and shake until the outside of the shaker has frosted. Strain into the prepared glass and garnish with whipped cream to serve.