Thursday, March 8, 2012

Squash Lasagna

I check out the blog Lake Jane every day for design, fashion, and food posts. I ♥ it. Best of all, Marie-Ève is based in Montréal. While I was salivating over the pictures of "squash cream", my sister Elle was making plans to actually make this recipe.

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Squash Lasagna - Serves 4
From Lake Jane.

Homemade Pasta
From Joy of Cooking: All about Pasta & Noodles.
The quantities were reduced to about two servings of pasta, but this was still a bit too much pasta for the lasagna.

1-½ all purpose flour
2 eggs
¼ tsp salt (optional)
¼ tsp extra-virgin olive oil
water, as needed

Pour flour onto a clean counter (or a big bowl), shaping into a mound and make a well in the center.
Add to the well, the eggs, salt and olive oil.
Beat the eggs lightly with a fork, drawing in some flour as you go, until the eggs are mixed and slightly thickened.
Using the fingertips of one hand, gradually incorporate the flour into the eggs and blend everything into a smooth, not too stiff dough.
If the dough feels too dry and crumbly, add water as needed.
Knead the dough until satiny and very elastic, 5-10 minutes.
Divide the dough into 2 pieces and wrap the pieces loosely in plastic.
Shape one of the pieces into a flat rectangular piece.
Adjusting to the widest opening, pass the dough through the rollers, turning the handle to roll it through.
Fold the sheet in two, sprinkle lightly with flour and pass the pasta through the same rollers a second time.
Repeat folding the pasta in two and rolling 3-4 times, sprinkling with flour if the pasta gets sticky.
Reduce the spacing between the rollers to the next level and pass the sheet of dough through the rollers.
Continue reducing the space between the rollers by one notch at a time; if the sheet of dough gets too long, cut the pasta sheet in half, to make it easier to roll.
Roll the pasta sheet until you reach the thinnest setting.
Cut the pasta sheet into pieces that will fit the baking dish you'll be using.
Cook enough pasta sheets in boiling, salted water to make 3 or 4 layers (don't lay them on top of each other or they will stick). If there is too much pasta, it can be frozen for future use.
Set aside for lasagna.

Flour & Eggs Balls of pasta dough
Rolling the pasta Thin sheets of pasta
These pics are from the fresh egg pasta post.

Brown Butter and Crispy Sage
▪ 2 tbsp of butter
▪ 12 or so fresh sage leaves

Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
As soon as it starts to turn a tan color, drop the sage leaves in and fry in the brown butter.
Remove the pan from the heat as soon as your butter is a beautiful nutty color and you smell the sage. Place the sage leaves on a paper towel and save the butter.

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Squash Cream
We couldn't find butternut squash so used an acorn squash with yummy results. After making the squash filling (or "squash cream" as Lake Jane refers to it), we had to sample it and were instantly addicted to the creaminess!

▪ 1-½ acorn squash (or butternut squash like the original recipe), roasted
▪ olive oil
▪ salt and pepper, to taste
▪ Grated fresh Parmesan
▪ Brown butter
▪ 2 Tbsp of milk (because we didn't have cream, but cream would make it better!)

Cut the acorn squash in two, and take out the seeds.
Slice the squash into crescent shape pieces and place them on a baking sheet.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the squash slices are cooked through.
Once the pieces of squash are cool enough to handle, remove the skin, and place the roasted squash in a food processor.
Add the Parmesan, brown butter and milk in the food processor, and blend together.
Taste and adjust seasoning as required.

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 Ingredients for the squash cream (oops forgot to take a pic of the actual squash cream!)

Walnut Crumble
▪ ¼ cup of roughly chopped walnuts▪ 1 clove of garlic
▪ salt

In a food processor, pulse the walnuts, coarse salt and garlic forming a crumble.
Set aside.

Ricotta Filling
▪ 1 cup of ricotta
▪ salt and pepper

Season the ricotta with salt and pepper to taste.

Putting the lasagna together
▪ Olive oil
▪ Cooked homemade pasta sheets (or store-bought lasagna sheets)
▪ Squash Cream
▪ Ricotta filling
▪ Walnut crumble
▪ Crispy sage leaves
▪ Parmesan, grated

Drizzle olive oil at the bottom of a baking dish.
Cover the bottom the dish with cooked pasta sheets.
Spread the squash cream over the pasta.
Spoon some ricotta filling on top.
Sprinkle the walnut crumble and add a few sages leaves (you can crumble them to cover more surface).
Repeat the layers 3 or 4 times.
At the very top, add more grated Parmesan for good measure!

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This was a winning recipe! Not only did it taste as good as it looked on Lake Jane's blog, but it's so original; it's nothing like any recipe I've had. I love that it uses squash in a non-traditional way. I will definitely be making this dish again and again! I think it would totally win over any guest.

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