Sunday, October 18, 2009

It's a sign.

Twice in the past 24 hours I have seen something about butternut sqaush lasagne on the internet. It's a sign. I must make it. This is the one that's really making me drool...

Serves 8
by Deborah Mele

Lasagna Noodles:

4 Cups Unbleached Flour

5 Extra Large Eggs

Pinch of Salt

To make the pasta, mound your flour on a large pastry board, or the counter, and make a well in the center. Break the eggs into this well, and start to scramble each egg with a fork as it is being added. Start to incorporate the eggs and flour by slowly bringing more flour in from the inside edges of the well. Continue adding the flour to the eggs until they are no longer runny. Using your hands now, bring the outside edges in, forming a large mass on your board. Use only the amount of flour needed to form a soft ball.

Begin to knead the ball of dough as you would bread, pushing it down with the heel of your hand. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and satiny, for about 8 minutes. Wrap the prepared dough in plastic wrap, and let it sit for about 30 minutes.

Use a pasta roller or roll by hand to make long sheets of pasta 1/4 thick. I use my Kitchen Aide table mixer with the pasta attachment and roll my past to the third last position. After rolling, cut into 12 inch long strips. Precook in boiling water for 30 seconds, then place in ice water. Dry and set aside on clean kitchen towels.

Béchamel Sauce:

8 Tablespoons (two sticks) Unsalted Butter

1/2 Cup All-purpose Flour

6 Cups Milk

Pinch of Ground Nutmeg

Salt And Pepper To Taste

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Once it is completely melted and bubbling, add the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon. Cook for a minute or two until the flour just begins to take on some color. Slowly start adding the milk, whisking continuously to prevent lumps from forming. Continue to simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, stirring often. Season with a pinch of salt, white pepper and nutmeg. Set aside until you are ready to use, by pouring the sauce into a glass bowl and covering with a buttered sheet of plastic wrap.

Sausage and Squash Sauce:

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 1/2 Pounds Sweet Italian Sausage, Casing Removed

10 Fresh Sage Leaves, Chopped

5 Cups Diced Butternut Squash (About 1 Large Squash)

1 Medium Onion, Chopped

2 Clove Garlic, Minced

3 Tablespoon Fresh Chopped Parsley

1/2 Cup Dry White Wine

1 Cups Chicken Stock

Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper To Taste

3 Cups (About 3/4 Pound) Shredded Mozzarella

1 1/2 Cups Grated Parmesan Cheese

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and sage and cook until sausage is evenly browned with no pink showing, about 5 minutes, breaking up the sausage as it cooks with a fork. Remove the sausage to a bowl. Add remaining one tablespoon of the olive oil, butternut squash, onions, and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften and just begin to brown, about 7 minutes. Return the sausage to the skillet and add the white wine, stirring to 'deglaze' the bottom of the pan. When the wine is almost completely reduced, add the chicken stock. Bring to the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread 1/2 cup of the béchamel on the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish rubbed with butter. Set aside 1 cup of the béchamel sauce for the top. Arrange lasagna noodles over the sauce in the dish, trimming them to fit if needed. Spread 1/2 of the sausage and butternut mixture over the noodles, top with 3/4 cup of mozzarella and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, then spoon some of the béchamel sauce over to cover. Repeat layers, ending with noodles. Spread the reserved 1 cup of béchamel sauce over the noodles, cover and bake at 375°F for 35 minutes. Remove the cover, sprinkle the top with the remaining Parmesan cheese and cook until lightly browned and bubbly, about 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Buon Appetito!

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