Mexican Pumpkin Smoked Chicken Lasagna

READY IN: 2hrs 45mins
Recipe by KWB5015

The seasonings are Mexican, not the pumpkin! I attended a cooking class about 15 years ago that had a 'Rick Bayless' pumpkin lasagna. It was good and this is my interpretation. I noted most pumpkin lasagna feature sage and are meatless, which is fine, but doesn't thrill my palate.

Top Review by firefly68

Wow, KWB, this sounds really interesting and different and a fascinatng way to use the ubiquitous pumpkin! No rating yet but to reassure people I want to confirm about not pre-cooking the lasagna. After years of struggling with floppy pasta and getting to the point where I stopped making one of my favorite dishes, I tried this method and discovered it works great! I use regular lasagna, not sheets or so-called precooked because they are much more expensive; there is a gap between the pieces but they expand as they cook and fill it in. I add ~1 cup extra water to the sauce. If you're still worried, make a half portion. Try it, I guarantee you'll like it!

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Saute onion, garlic and peppers in olive oil until browned.
  2. Add in herbs, vegetable cube, pumpkin and a cup or two of water. You want to dissolve the vegetable cube and thin the sauce so that is like the tomato sauce you'd normally use to make lasagna. The water in this will also hydrate the pasta, so don't skimp! Adjust heat so that sauce simmers and flavor develops. Taste and adjust for salt.
  3. Grate Jack cheese. You can also use pepper Jack or mozarella or cheddar, even.
  4. Chop chicken. You can also used a nice quality smoked chicken deli meat, too.
  5. In a large bowl, mix ricotta with herbs and eggs. Thin with milk if necessary to make it spreadable.
  6. Assembly: Pour a small amount of sauce to cover the bottom of a 9X13 pan. Lay the dry pasta sheets on top (I find that I never have to cook or soak my noodles, whatever the brand--just make sure you have sufficient liquid in the dish). Smear the ricotta mixture on top of the dry pasta sheets, sprinkle chicken on top of that, the grated cheese on top of that and then spoon half your jar of salsa over that. Then add another, more generous layer of the pumpkin sauce. Then pasta, ricotta, chicken, jack, salsa and/or pumpkin. The last layer should be pumpkin sauce sprinkled with the grated cheese.
  7. I find that lasagna can be a little tricky with regard to the quantity of ingredients you have. Coming up short or with too much this or that has to do with how thickly you layer things and the depth of your pan. I do know that you don't really want to end with a layer of pasta noodles because they'll just stay hard and that if you only give yourself a centimeter clearance from the top you should probably place the pan on a cookie sheet before it goes into the over because it will likely boil over! I often keep a small pan off to the side so I can improvise with any leftovers.
  8. Cover and bake in a 350 (180) degree oven until bubbly and cheese is melted--around 45 minutes. Uncover to brown the top or, if at the start it seems too watery to you, go ahead and bake it uncovered the whole time.
  9. Serve with sour cream and pickled jalapenos if you like.

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