This is one of my favourite go-to dishes for the kids. It is easy, packed full of vegetables and tastes even better next day. I am all for girl power, but I do recommend a man’s assistance when it comes to slicing the pumpkin sheets. A strong arm and steady hand is required.
Pumpkin Sheet Lasagna
500g beef mince
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
3 Tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, preferably freshly ground
4 medium-sized button mushrooms, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
700g pasta sauce of your choosing
1 stock cube, vegetable or beef
1Tsp freshly chopped or dried herbs – basil, thyme and/or parsley work best
¼ crown pumpkin, deseeded, peeled and sliced into 2-3mm sheets
2 Tsp butter
1 Tsp plain flour (heaped)
1 Cup milk
1 ½ Cups grated cheese
Preheat the oven to bake at 180 degrees. Place a deep dish pan on a high heat element. When hot, add the olive oil, then break up the mince in the pan. Brown for approximately five minutes, using a spatula to separate – you want the meat to cook through evenly.
Throw in the onion and then the garlic. Continue to stir for a further three (or so) minutes until the garlic becomes aromatic. Grind over lashings of salt and pepper.
Add your mushrooms to the pan, breaking them up roughly with your hands as you throw them in. Add your grated carrot. Continue to move all your ingredients around the pan, cooking evenly, ensuring nothing sticks to the bottom. Adjust to a medium-high heat as you pour over your choice of pasta sauce. Add your stock cube, but break it up in your fingers as it goes in. Add your herbs, then more salt and pepper to taste. Turn down the heat to a simmer, stirring frequently.
Pop a pot (on a separate element) on a medium-high heat. Add your butter. When the butter has melted, add the flour. Stir immediately with a whisk then add the milk. Stir continuously. As the sauce begins to thicken, add a cup of the grated cheese, saving the remaining half. Add lashings of salt and pepper to taste. After only a few minutes, your sauce should thicken. If it does not then add more flour. If it is too thick, add water and continue to stir. Take off the heat when you are happy with the consistency. It should be quite a thick sauce.
Turn both elements off and grab a 20x20 baking dish. Pour a third of your mince mixture in to the dish. Evenly pour a third of your cheese sauce over the top of the mince. Place a single layer of the thinly-sliced pumpkin over the sauce so that it is completely covered. Repeat – mince, sauce, pumpkin. The final layers should be only mince and then the last of the cheese sauce. Evenly sprinkle the half-cup of grated cheese over the top. Pop the dish in the centre of the oven for 30-40 minutes. The lasagna is done when all four sides are bubbling and the cheese on top is golden.