I created this hearty yet elegant pumpkin lasagne recipe for a winter dinner party. It’s a classic four-cheese lasagne with a beautiful twist: pumpkin pasta sheets. The subtle flavor and golden hue of the noodles go perfectly with the rich quartet of cheeses: mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Fontina, and Parmigiano. You can serve it as a first course, followed by a simple roast, or as a main course, accompanied by a colorful mixed-lettuce salad. You can count on your guests loving this—but don’t count on leftovers.–Domenica Marchetti
LC Pumpkin Assumption Note
Bet you thought you’d find nubs of winter squash sandwiched between sheets of store-bought pasta and napped with béchamel, eh? Guess again. There’s nary a chunk of roasted gourd in this lasagne recipe. Nope. Just gorgeous sheets of homemade pasta imbued with the spirit and spectacle of vibrant pureed pumpkin. No complaints here.
To make the lasagne recipe, spread a clean tablecloth or several clean tea towels on a flat surface near the stove. Have ready the uncooked pasta, the béchamel, and the cheeses. Place a large bowl filled with ice water near the stove for briefly immersing the cooked lasagne noodles to remove excess starch.
Heat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and salt it generously. Carefully drop in 4 or 5 lasagne noodles, taking care not to crowd the pot. Boil the pasta for about 1 minute, as fresh pasta cooks quickly and the lasagne noodles should be slightly underdone. Use a large skimmer to remove the lasagne noodles from the pot and gently immerse them in the bowl of ice water. Then use the skimmer to remove the noodles and let them drip before spreading them on the clean tablecloth. Continue to cook, cool, and spread out the lasagne noodles until you have cooked and cooled all of them.
Spread a thin layer of béchamel in the bottom of the prepared dish. Arrange a single layer of the lasagne noodles over the sauce. Spread just enough béchamel over the pasta to cover it, and sprinkle half of the mozzarella over the béchamel. Sprinkle about 1/5 of the Parmigiano (about one-fifth of it) over the mozzarella. Arrange another layer of noodles in the dish and spread béchamel over them. Sprinkle the Gorgonzola and a little more Parmigiano on top. Arrange a third layer of noodles in the dish and cover with béchamel. Sprinkle the Fontina and more Parmigiano on top. Arrange a fourth layer of noodles in the dish and spread béchamel over the pasta, reserving enough of the sauce for the top. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and some Parmigiano on top, reserving enough Parmigiano for the top. Cover with a final layer of noodles and of béchamel. Sprinkle the remaining Parmigiano on top. (The lasagne may be assembled and stored, unbaked, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. If frozen, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking.)
Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake the lasagne for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until it is bubbling and the top is golden brown. Remove the lasagne from the oven and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting. To serve, cut the lasagne into individual portions, and transfer to shallow rimmed bowls. Serve immediately.