Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pumpkin Lasagna with Swiss Chard and Parmesan

A lot of people ask me if Matthew is a picky eater. I would not necessarily describe him as being "picky" but rather a "stubborn eater." For a kid his age, he actually eats a wide variety of food and actually likes meals that are heavily spiced and have some heat (he is not one to shy away from jalapenos!). He also loves raw vegetables of all types and will never turn down fruit of any kind. I do not struggle so much with finding food that he will eat, but rather ensuring that he finishes his meal in a timely manner.

Zoning out instead of eating! He's the ultimate procrastinator!!

You see, Matthew loves to chat incessantly - especially during mealtime. Long after Paul and I have cleaned our plates, Matthew will still be leisurely picking at his meal while lecturing us on everything he knows about dinosaurs (or whatever the hot topic happens to be that day). I get so frustrated getting him to finish his dinner - because it is not that he does not want to eat it - he just views mealtime as an opportunity to reconnect and socialize. And it is - but neither Paul nor I really want to linger over each meal for hours listening to whatever train of thought happens to be traipsing through Matthew's little brain. I cannot even begin to count the number of times we sternly say during each meal: "STOP TALKING AND FINISH EATING, MATTHEW!"

So, that is our biggest challenge with Matthew: Getting him to eat faster. However, I will note that he is very picky when it comes to getting him to eat protein. He is adverse to the texture of most meat, preferring mainly chicken and sometimes sausage (if we slice it into little rounds and shamelessly lie by telling him it's a hot dog). He spits out ground beef and hates the chewiness of steak. However, he is a huge fan of bacon.

This of course means that my little guy is a big fan of the many meatless main dishes we prepare throughout the week. This pumpkin lasagna was no exception. Matthew polished off half of this pan by himself (splitting it up over dinner and a couple lunches)....he loved it! This dish is a unique way to use up pumpkin and the flavor is reminiscent of butternut squash ravioli. Instead of a traditional red sauce, a pumpkin alfredo sauce is spread between each layer of lasagna noodles along with a tasty, aromatic mixture of sauteed onions and swiss chard. The pumpkin adds an intriguing sweetness that pairs wonderfully with the chard and sage. Give this meal a try for a satisfying and different addition to a harvest-themed dinner menu.

Pumpkin Lasagna
adapted from Food and Wine Magazine, November 2010

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 pounds Swiss chard, tough stems removed, leaves washed well and chopped
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3 cups canned pumpkin puree (one 28-ounce can)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan
1/2 cup milk
12 no-boil lasagna noodles

In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to moderately high and add the chard, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon sage, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Cook, stirring, until the chard is wilted and no liquid remains in the pan, about 5-10 minutes.

Heat the oven to 400°. In a medium bowl, mix together 2 cups of the pumpkin, 3/4 cup cream, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon sage, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.

Pour the milk into an 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Top the milk with one third of the noodles, then spread half the pumpkin mixture over the noodles. Layer half the Swiss chard over the pumpkin and top with a second layer of noodles. Repeat with another layer of pumpkin, Swiss chard, and noodles. Combine the remaining 1 cup of pumpkin and 3/4 cup of cream. Spread the mixture evenly over the top of the lasagna and sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of Parmesan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden, about 15 additional minutes.

1 comment:

  1. This looks wonderful - I am pretty sure my girls would have loved something like this when they were that age :-)