Bacon Pumpkin Lasagna
Creamy pumpkin sweetens this bacon loaded lasagna making it a cozy meal perfect for Fall.
Who doesn't love lasagna? My family sure does. I developed this Bacon Pumpkin Lasagna recipe after I started growing pumpkins in my garden. The first type that grew were called Cinderella pumpkins. They are great for cooking and very large.
I had only one plant and 5 big pumpkins. That sounds manageable right? Well, I finally ended up freezing quite a bit of cooked pumpkin and found myself searching for more and more ways to use it.
I found we liked curried pumpkin soup with toasted hazelnuts and creme fraiche quite a bit but for the most part, we're not big pumpkin pie or pumpkin pie spice fans. We like our pumpkin on the savory side.
Enter Bacon....bacon is great for a sweet and salty combination! It was a natural match. First I found some amazing thick cut bacon and cooked it up crisp in the oven.
When I worked in restaurants I learned that bacon cooks up beautifully in the oven and clean up is so easy!
Lay the bacon flat on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper then bake it at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove the bacon to drain and cool on some paper towels. I leave the bacon grease to cool and solidify then scrape it into a plastic container to use later or just scrape it all into the garbage. The pan cleans up with a little soap and water, no scrubbing necessary.
This recipe is definitely a labor of love. Most lasagnas are time consuming but all this cozy, cheesy goodness is a great return for your labor!
Also, time consuming doesn't always mean difficult. I like to think of making Bacon Pumpkin Lasagna as slow lazy Sunday meal that will reward me with amazing lunch leftovers for the week.
For the Pasta
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semolina flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. water, plus more as needed
For the Pumpkin sauce
28 oz pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup butter
1/4 all purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons nutmeg
salt & pepper
For the Meat Mixture
3/4 pound ground beef or lamb
1 pound thick cut bacon
1/2 cup onion minced
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic
salt & pepper
For the Cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella
1 pound ricotta
1 cup shredded Parmesan
Cook the bacon:
Lay the bacon flat on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper then bake it at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove the bacon to drain and cool on some paper towels.
Make the pasta dough:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the all-purpose and semolina flours, salt and olive oil. Beat on low speed just until combined, about 30 seconds.
Whisk together the eggs and water then with the mixer on low speed, slowly drizzle in the egg mixture and mix until well combined, about 2 minutes.
Stop the mixer, then use your hands to squeeze a small amount of dough into a ball. It should be moist enough to hold together but not sticky; if it is too dry, add more water, 1 tsp. at a time.
Transfer the dough to a work surface and shape into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap, then flatten the ball into a disk. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Make the Meat Mixture:
Brown the ground beef or lamb in a skillet with the green pepper, onion and garlic. Add salt & pepper to taste.
Make the Pumpkin Sauce:
Saute the onion and garlic in the butter until the onion is translucent. Add the 1/4 cup of flour and mix stirring constantly until combined and bubbly.
Now add the 1/4 cup of milk, 2 teaspoons of nutmeg and the pumpkin puree. Stir to combine then bring the sauce to a simmer stirring occasionally. Add salt & pepper to taste.
Prepare the Pasta:
Unwrap the pasta dough and cut into quarters as shown above. Cut each quarter in half, you should have 8 pieces now. Roll with a pin or press each piece out flat with your hands to about 1 cm thick.
Start running the dough through your pasta maker on the thickest setting. You might need to fold the dough and run it through the thickest setting 2 or 3 more times to get the noodle to take shape.
Reduce the thickness setting one click at a time until you have run the pasta through to your desired thickness.
I usually roll my pasta out to setting 5 on my Kitchenaid pasta roller.
Continue rolling out the pasta until you have processed all of the dough.
Cut the pasta into pieces close to the same length as the pan while you process the noodles and hang them on a drying rack until you are ready to assemble the lasagna. If you don't have a drying rack simply lay the pasta flat on a lightly floured surface.
Assemble the Lasagna:
Spread some sauce in the bottom of the pan.
Add a layer of pasta noodles, more sauce, the meat mixture and a scatter of bacon.
Dollop on several tablespoons of ricotta evenly, then sprinkle with half the mozzarella.
Top the cheese with another layer a noodles, then repeat once more: pumpkin sauce, meat mixture, bacon, cheese and another layer of noodles.
Finish with a thin layer of pumpkin sauce covering all of the top noodles, the Parmesan cheese and a final scatter of bacon.
Bake covered with foil in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the top is brown and the edges are bubbly.
Let cool at least 10 minutes before cutting to serve.