Monday, January 21, 2013

Pumpkin Lasagna with Sage-infused Bechamel

This lasagna is a show-stopper. It's what I served at my first official dinner party:

My Bosnian family was moving to Boston (far away from the KC-area!) and one of our mutual friends had a small get-together where we all had snacks and celebrated our Bosnian family.

The Bosnian mother brought a beautiful gelatin cake on of her co-workers made for her. It was from a moulde, but it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen food-wise. I broken vegetarian-edge for it *gasp!*

All the flowers were completely suspended within this thing, and it was 100% edible and (somehow) 100% gelatin-based food-stuffs, with the most delicate flavorings.

The mother is all about local, organic, seasonal natural-foods and since that's been my focus as of late, I proposed that night that I throw a dinner party the following day, as I thought I could whip up something everyone would enjoy : D

Butternut Squash Tahini Dip with fresh locally-made pita bread (Olive Cafe)

Citrus, Feta, Walnut Salad (without the squash)

Pumpkin Lasagna (recipe shown below)
Blanched Green Beans with walnuts, walnut oil, and light salt

Pear Almond Tart

I was pretty proud of myself after this dinner, not gonna lie. All in my mother's beautiful home and on her nice china (since they both live a few blocks away from each other in the burbs and my apartment is hardly of the dinner-party accommodating size) Though this has made me realize: I'm getting old. I'm addicted to NPR, I seriously enjoy throwing dinner parties, and I'm out-of-my-gourd excited to start working and being completely independent and responsible for myself. But if this is what getting old feels like, SIGN ME UP!

The picture shown above is a re-make (I was far too busy cooking and entertaining to take pictures at the time of the lasagna or the other dishes I made for the dinner), and I made it for my roommate from my Indian study abroad program when I visited her in her family home on Long Island, NY. It was beautiful and snowy, the perfect background for this winter-squash lasagna.

The original recipe calls for the pumpkin to be pureed, but I like it in layered strips for texture-sake. Also: you aren't limited to pumpkin, pretty much any squash would do. My original make of this lasagna was with pumpkin, the second one (featured above) is using butternut squash, as pumpkin was unavailable at the time.

Pumpkin Lasagna with Sage-infused Béchamel
from Gobo Root

12 lasagna noodles
4 cups sage infused béchamel (recipe below)
1 pumpkin, peeled, sliced thinly, oiled, salted, and roasted
1.5 cups ricotta (recipe here)
1 large bunch Swiss chard, washed and leaves separated from stem
1 cup Parmesan, grated
1 cup mozzarella, shredded

1. Pre-heat oven to 375F. Cook noodles according to package instructions. Reserve cooking water and dunk Swiss chard into the water for a few minutes.
2.  Squeeze excess moisture from the chard and cut into 1" pieces. Set aside.
3. In the bottom of the baking dish, spread evenly 1/4th of the béchamel. Arrange 4 noodles over the sauce.
4. Top with 1/2 of the pumpkin slices, then 1/2 the ricotta, then half the Swiss chard and another 1/4th béchamel.
5. Repeat with second layer: 4 more lasagna noodles, last 1/2 of pumpkin slices, last 1/2 of ricotta, and last of swiss chard and last 1/4th of béchamel.
6. Lay remaining 4 lasagna noodles over the top, and sprinkle with parmesan and mozzarella evenly.
7. Bake until top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Sage-infused Béchamel
makes 4 cups

4 cups milk
6 Tbs. butter
6 Tbs. flour
a sprig of sage
salt and pepper
ground nutmeg

1. Place milk and sage in a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl to let stand for 10 minutes. Discard leaves.
2. While milk is standing, melt butter in the sauce pan over low heat. Sprinkle in flour and stir quickly until flour has completely combined with butter. Let bubble for a few minutes until roux starts to smell nutty.
3. Turn heat up to medium and slowly add in sage-infused milk, whisking constantly.
4. Let sauce cook until thickened, and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
5. Remove from heat and cover.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like an amazing dinner party. All the dishes you made are quite tasty and impressive : ) Growing up IS fun! And I won't tell anyone about the gelatin.