Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pumpkin Lasagna

Pumpkins are finding their way into everything this time of year. You can pretty much use them in any of your favorite foods. Do you like cookies? How about pumpkin cookies? Hershey's chocolate kisses? How about add some pumpkin? Pumpkin pancakes? Pumpkin creme brulee? Pumpkin cake? Pumpkin stew? Pumpkin lasagna?

Pumpkin Lasagna

Well, if you can't tell, this is pumpkin lasagna. The recipe was crafted by Robert Irvine of Food Network and can be found here. It is made pretty much the same as a normal lasagna, except you add layers of pumpkin puree and sliced zucchini. One nice feature of the recipe is that it has you make a quick homemade meaty tomato sauce (perhaps it qualifies as a bolognese?).

Pumpkin Lasagna Slice

I thoroughly enjoyed my slice and had to stop myself from eating half of the pan. What really makes the dish work is that Robert Irvine did not just throw some pumpkin into a normal lasagna. He added the sliced zucchini, kin of the pumpkin, for support as well as some strong flavors from de-cased sausage meat in the sauce. That may be what makes pumpkin so versatile and prolific. It can behave meekly like a mild squash for soups and other vegetal-focused purposes. But it also holds up to strong flavors. Look at the quintessential use of pumpkin in the holiday season: pumpkin pie. You throw ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and a whole host of other pungent spices at pumpkin puree and it just laughs as you get in line for another slice of pie. Pumpkin can even help you balance different flavors. One of the more prevalent "alternative" flavor profiles for pumpkin outside of pie is to use brown butter and sage, the former of which has more subtle notes while the latter is a strong adversary. Pumpkin not only balances the two, but still manages to steal the show. That is what helped it to stand out in this pumpkin lasagna. Hefty sausage and tame tomatoes shine even brighter when pumpkin hangs out in this Italian melange.

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