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Cozy Pumpkin Lasagna with Pork, Fennel, and Chard

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Protein: Pork
Course: Main Course
Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 12

Ingredients

For the pumpkin bechamel

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk warmed
  • 1/2 medium shallot peeled
  • 2 to 3 sage sprigs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more, to taste
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the pork filling

  • 1 bunch Swiss chard rinsed and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium shallot peeled and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 medium fennel bulb cored and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • Pinch chile flakes
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

For the lasagna

  • 1 12-ounce package fresh lasagna sheets
  • 1 pound fontina cheese shredded
  • 4 ounces parmigiano reggiano cheese shredded

Instructions

For the pumpkin bechamel

  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When it’s melted and foamy, slowly sprinkle in the flour, whisking as you go. It will mix with the butter into what looks like loose paste. Continue to whisk until the flour and butter are totally combined and the paste is starting to smell toasty, about 1 minute.
  • Slowly pour the milk into the flour, whisking constantly. Once all milk is combined, stir in salt, sage sprigs and shallot, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove and discard sage and shallot. Stir in the pumpkin puree and nutmeg. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for another 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then set aside. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the sauce to keep a skin from forming.

For the pork filling

  • Separate chard stems and leaves. Chop the stems into ¼-inch pieces and the leaves into ½ -inch pieces. Set aside.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. When it foams, add the shallot, chard stems, fennel, fennel seeds, chile flakes, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sage and cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Add the pork, stirring to combine it with the aromatics. Spread meat into a single layer, increase heat to medium-high, and cook without moving for about 3 to 4 minutes to brown the meat. Reduce heat to medium, flip and continue to cook, stirring, for another minute.
  • Add wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until the liquid has evaporated a bit, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chard leaves and cook, stirring, until they have wilted into the mixture.
  • Reduce heat to medium low and add the cream. Stir to combine, taste and adjust seasoning. Simmer for 2 to 3 more minutes to reduce the sauce. Set aside.

For the lasagna

  • Heat the oven to 400°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Cut each of the lasagna sheets in half for a total of 12 pieces. Place a colander in the sink and line a sheet pan with a towel. When the water boils, cook the pasta, 2 pieces at a time, for about 2 minutes each. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a colander. Run cool water over them. When cool, transfer to the lined sheet pan.
  • To assemble, spread ¾ cup bechamel sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Cover with 3 pieces of the cut lasagna sheets. Spread ¼ of the remaining bechamel over the pasta, followed by ⅓ of the pork filling, and ¼ each of the remaining fontina and parm.
  • Repeat this process three times, until you’ve used all of the meat. Finish with the remaining pieces of pasta, bechamel, and cheese, in that order. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is browned, slightly puffed, and bubbling at the edges.
  • Remove from the oven and rest lasagna for at least 10 minutes before serving.
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