Black kale and pumpkin lasagna - a first step into autumn
This year, of all the ones I lived in the Netherlands has brought me the most well behaved summer season with many balcony dinners, happy terrace conversations, and tons of iced coffee. There were some really warm days, and some that were just about perfect. We had our evening walks, and our ice cream talks - the days over the past month were perfect!
Now that Autumn has officially arrived, I have started to notice that the days are getting colder, degree by degree, or even half, leaves are turning pale, and the green markets are bustling with pumpkin of all sorts. This morning we walked past the Saturday farmer’s market next doors to find some cinderella pumpkins being sold. Growing up in India, these were the only ones I knew, and the familiar sight of perfectly quartered pumpkins being sold by weight isn’t easy to disregard. As I picked up a quarter for about a Euro and half, we walked back home with happy Saturday brunch tummies, and bags full of green grocery.
I must have spent a good portion of my afternoon today preparing this recipe, for I didn’t know what I would eventually prepare. As a generic first step I set the pumpkin and the onions to bake, and eventually decided to make some vegetarian lasagna. The bag of black kale that I had picked up the other day from the grocery store came handy at the right time, and I set off to bake this batch of evening comfort. Sure it wasn’t all perfect as I had my first lumpy béchamel ever, but we picked it up with a second batch that was perfect. It all turned out fine, and we enjoyed the crunchy kale, sweet pumpkin, and salty cheese between layers of tender lasagna sheets. We had a chat or two, enjoyed our glasses of cola, which made perfect sense to us with lasagna today. It was a happy Saturday, and I hope you had a happy one too!
Serves - 6
Time to prepare - 15 minutes
Time to cook - 1 hour 10 minutes (with 35 minutes of chilling’ around!)
- 1/2 kg pumpkin
- 200 g black kale leaves
- 2 medium sized red onions
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 10 sage leaves
- 6 sheets of lasagna
- 800 ml half fat milk
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Olive oil to drizzle
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Start by preheating the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
- Slice the pumpkin into about 3/4 cm slices and lay them on an oven proof dish. If your dish is too small, just stack the pumpkin on top of each other. Roughly slice the onions and spread over the pumpkins and top the garlic cloves. Drizzle some olive oil over the pumpkins, and onions and add salt and pepper to taste. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees celsius for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, roughly chop the kale leaves and blanch them/stir fry them for a few minutes until they turn slightly tender and chewable.
- Prepare the béchamel sauce by placing a saucepan on medium heat and heating 2 tsp of olive oil. Add about 2 tbsp of all purpose flour once the oil is warm and stir really well for 20 seconds. Add about 200ml of milk at this point, and thoroughly stir until all flour lumps are gone. Repeat this until all the milk is used up and we have a good batch of creamy béchamel sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Prepare the lasagna sheets as per instructions. Time to construct the lasagna. Start by spreading a tablespoon of béchamel sauce at the bottom of the pan, and then gently laying the pumpkin slices uniformly on top of the sauce. Create a thin layer of black kale leaves on top of the pumpkins and gently place a layer of lasagna sheets. Add about 6-7 tablespoons of béchamel sauce on top of the lasagna sheets and top with a layer of grated parmesan and roughly chopped sage leaves. Repeat this layer to have 2 plump layers of pumpkin and kale leaves in the lasagna. Drizzle some olive oil on top and we are all set!
- Heat the lasagna at 180 degrees celsius for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes, remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- Bon apetito!