Saturday, November 27, 2010

Roast Butternut Squash And Ricotta Lasagna With Walnut and Sage Butter Sauce

There are many rich and delightful homemade lasagna dishes but this is perfect for both vegetarians and meat eaters alike. The combination of pumpkin, walnut and fresh sage is a triumph! However the pasta needs to be thin to cook, if you prefer it thicker then boil the pasta for one minute before layering. Or use sheets of fresh lasagna from the supermarket.


Olive oil
1 Spanish onion
1/2 kilo of beefy Italian tomatoes
balsamic vinegar
2 kg organic butternut peeled & cut into pieces
6 cloves of garlic
8 Ounces (240g) packet frozen spinach defrosted and squeezed to remove excess
500g ricotta
3 cups of freshly grated Parmesan
250gm natural Greek yogurt
3 organic eggs
Olive oil
Dried chili flakes
Freshly grated nutmeg
A large bunch of fresh purple sage leaves

Fresh lasagna sheets
500g strong flour
5 large organic eggs
Kosher salt

To Make the walnut and sage butter
180 g butter
150 g chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6

To make the pasta

On your kitchen worktop, pour the sifted flour and make a well in the centre and add the eggs and salt. Gradually incorporate the eggs into the flour with your fingers. When the dough starts to come together sprinkle some more flour over the work area and knead the dough until you it becomes smooth and elastic. There is no right or wrong way to do this just keep working the dough towards the centre with your hands. Do not be gentle with it you are trying to get the gluten working. Cover the ready dough with a kitchen towel and let it rest for ten minutes. Take pieces of dough like a golf ball and roll out on a pasta machine at least five times ending with thin pasta.

To make the filling

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan and saute the onion for five minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and stir for five minutes until thickened. Add a tablespoon of red wine balsamic vinegar. Place the chopped pumpkin and whole cloves of garlic in a baking tray and drizzle with the olive oil, season with the sea salt, dried chili flakes, freshly ground pepper and nutmeg. Roast for about twenty minutes or until the pumpkin is tender. Roughly mash the lasagna and garlic with half of the sage leaves chopped. Whisk the ricotta, yogurt, Parmesan and eggs. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Lightly oil a lasagna tray and then place the tomato sauce on the bottom, and place a layer of the lasagna sheets over the base and spread with half the pumpkin. Add another layer of lasagna sheets and spread with half the ricotta yogurt and spinach. Repeat process and sprinkle the final layer of ricotta mix with extra Parmesan. Cover lasagna with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Then uncover and bake for a further 10 minutes until golden.

Walnut & sage butter sauce

Gently heat the butter, chopped walnuts and fresh sage leaves until the butter starts to foam. Serve separately so that each person can drizzle it over their pasta dish. Serve with extra bowls of cheese.

Italian food is simple elegant and fabulous, it makes the most of the freshest ingredients. Italians don't ask how much food is they ask how fresh it is. The concept of a weekly shop is alien to them, their fruit and vegetables are bought every day. The fantastic thing about Italian food is the fact that they have no such thing; Italy was a separate conglomeration of states until 1870.

Each area has its own cuisine and that cuisine has been forged by Centuries of geographical area and history. For instance the food in the North West bears a closer relationship to mid European food because it was influenced by its neighbour the Austro- Hungarian empire. In the South the flavours of the Mediterranean prevail, the olive oils, the fresh and dried fruit influenced by the Moors, the tomatoes brought from the New World.

Read my introduction to Italian food and peruse the general recipes, then follow the links to the tastes of Tuscany, Lombardy and the tastes of Sicily. Italian food is the ultimate comfort food celebrating the family, family life and family celebrations with a passion for food.

Because Italian food celebrates the magnificence of the food and not the chef it is easy to recreate at home. Generally it is fast and flavorsome, you can have home made pasta dish on the table in half an hour even if you have made the pasta yourself.

Antipasti, Lasagna, Chicken Saltimboca, Italian Meatloaf, Spaghetti alla Puttanesca, Zuppa di Pesce, Sole Florentine, Italian Meatloaf, Braised Artichokes, Zucchini Parmesan, and Ricotta Easter Pie are all described so vividly that you can taste them before you make them.

Feel free to reprint any of my articles simply use a citation. Thanks Auntie Katkat.

My Links : anolon professional 12 piece nonstick cookware set cuisinart chefs classic 10 piece cookware set staub 9.5 inch saute pan


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