I have pumpkin almost every day now and came up with this new twist today. Instead of using meat you can use some roast pumpkin slices/cubes and make the whole dish vegetarian. Measures are rough estimates here as pumpkins will have different size and water content etc. I used a green hokkaido pumpkin but you can use any sort of pumpkin for the pasta.
4 Portions for the pasta dough: 1/2 small Hokkaido pumpkin 2 teaspoons of stock powder about 200g Semolina about 100g plain flour salt, pepper, spices to taste for the fillings: 300g minced lean beef 4 medium onions 2 cloves of garlic 400ml tomato sauce (with spices if you like, I use pasta base sauce) 100ml red wine 1 tablespoon tomato puree 200g baby spinach 2 small mozzarella balls (or buy grated mozzarella) 250ml milk some butter 2 tablespoons of plain flour 100g soft goats cheese salt, pepper, nutmeg parmesan cheese to finish
Start with preparing the pasta dough. For this, deseed and peel half a pumpkin. Cut of the skin and cube roughly. Place in a pot and cover with water. Add some stock powder and cook until soft. Drain and transfer to a stand mixer (if you don’t have any you can of course mash it with a potato masher). Add spices to taste and leave to cool down.
Combine with semolina and plain flour to form a flexible dough that is not wet anymore. Cover in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 mins.
In the meantime, chop the onions and press the garlic. Cook both until brown and soft. Transfer 1/4th of the onion/garlic mix to a large pot and add the spinach leaves on low heat until they shrink and soften. Remove from the heat and store in a bowl.
Brown the minced meat in a pan until brown. Add the onions and tomato sauce. Season with salt, pepper, red wine and tomato puree to taste.
For the white sauce, heat a large knob of butter in a saucepan. When melted, add the flour and stir to form a roux. Remove from the pan and set aside. Heat the milk in the pan and slowly stir in the roux to thicken the sauce to your liking. You don’t necessarily have to add all of it. When you’re happy with the consistency, add the goats cheese and combine to form a smooth and thick sauce. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Now that all the fillings are done its time to make some pasta! I use the KitchenAid pasta machine attachment as it allows me to use both hands to hold the pasta sheet. You can of course also use a manual one. I like to make lasagne in glass dishes that I can cover with clip lids for freezing later but any oven dish will do.
Make sure your pasta dough has the right consistency before you start. No recipe can guarantee for perfect ratios for these doughs, they always come out different depending on the size of eggs, humidity etc. Its best to keep practising and get some experience on how it works best. Mine started off a bit too wet. I took a picture of how it shouldn’t look when you start handing it through the pasta maker:
Coat in semolina and start on the thickest (1) stage of the pasta maker. This is the stage to get a right and even shape so I usually pass it through many times, folding and coating it in more semolina if necessary. Keep passing it through the machine a few times on each setting up to setting 3 or 4. Cut the dough into the right size and cover the bottom of the oven dish.
Squeeze out the liquid from the spinach mix and start layering: tomato sauce, spinach, some mozzarella, white sauce, pasta, etc.
Try to get at leat three layers – make sure they are thin to fit as many in as possible.