This recipe has a funny story behind it. I prepared this last year when I was having some friends over for dinner, I think it was about 10 or so people. Yes, I do create new recipes when I am having guest. To some this may be a faux pas, such as the Barefoot Contessa. For me, I just can't help myself. I go to the store or to the market and once again "I lose my mind"! First off I wanted to make something that I could make ahead of time, lasagna fit the bill. Second I HATE those fat lasagna noodles you buy at the store. So I knew I was going to make fresh pasta, delicate thin & silky pasta for my lasagna. Second, I love, love, love butternut squash and pasta such as raviolli. Third, I went to our local Italian Deli The Monte Carlo in Burbank and once again, there goes the brain! I just get carried away when I see so many beautiful ingredients at the deli. So I bought all of the things that got my mouth watering and I created this lasagna. Everyone went crazy for it and wanted the recipe. The problem was.... I didn't have a recipe, I just threw it together.
Fast forward about a year and many tries at re-crating the recipe. I think I've gotten it all onto paper.
As my title says, this recipe is NOT for the faint of heart. It is about 3-4 pages long. This is not a recipe you want to do unless you have some time to put it all together.
Please give it a try, if you like lasagna and squash you are sure to like this recipe!
If you make it please take a picture and post it and let me know how you liked it.
Squash This Way
A WARM COMFORTING LASAGNA MADE WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND SILKY HOMEMAKE PASTA NOODLES
Makes 8-10 large servings
Baking dish 13x9 or other deep baking dish.
2 Lrg. Butternut Squash (about 16Cups)
2 Stick of butter
3 Branches of Sage chopped (about ¼ C chopped)
½ C Brown sugar
1 lb of spicy sausage (I use the one my father produces but you can use any brand you like)
1 lb sweet sausage
3 C Ricotta cheese
4 C Frozen chopped spinach (1 16 oz pkg)
3 Lrg. Eggs slightly beaten (plus the egg white left over from pasta)
1 Med Red onion (Small chopped lrg enough to not get lost in the spinach)
1 Med red, yellow or orange bell pepper chopped.
3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1 C grated percorino
1 C grated Parmesan
1 C Grated romano
1 C chopped Pancetta
2 Stick of butter
¼ C chopped fresh sage
2 C half n half
3 C Milk
I lb pkg. of fresh Mozzarella cheese
1 C Grated Parmesan Cheese
LASAGNA FILLING PREPERATION:
BUTTER SAGE SAUCE:
1. In a medium sauce pan melt the butter add the sage.
2. Cook on low heat until the butter starts to bubble and sage starts to crisp and turn a darker green. (if you want some garnish for top of Lasagna put some whole leaves in and take out once they start to turn dark and set aside)
3. Add sugar and turn to very low simmer and let sugar melt while you prepare the squash for the oven.
1. Heat oven to 400
2. To soften the skin of your squash put it in the microwave for 5-10 minutes. Let it cool then cut in half remove any seeds from center with a spoon.
3. Peel the squash and cut into chunks. (Try to keep the chunks close in size so they cook at the same time).
4. Put onto foiled cookie sheets and pour butter, sage, sugar mixture over the squash chunks and mix all together.
5. Roast in oven for 20 minutes.
6. At 20 minutes turn squash pieces over . Cook for another 20-30 or until squash starts to get a nice toasty brown.
7. Remove from oven set aside to cool.
8. RESET OVEN TEMP TO 350
9. Once the squash has cooled a bit put into a bowl and lightly mash. You want a mash that is not completely smooth it should be a little chunky.
10. Set aside.
IF you haven’t prepared your pasta ahead of time this is when I prepare so I can let rest while I prepare the rest of the ingredients. (Pasta recipe follows)
1. Heat a large sauté pan. Put your sausage meat into pan (If your sausage is in a casing remove meat and put into pan).
2. Cook on med heat making sure the meat is broken up into small pieces. Cook until nicely browned. (This is a nice time to take a break and have a cappuccino, espresso or coffee)
3. Put cooked sausage into strainer and drain out grease. Put into a bowl and set aside until ready to assemble lasagna.
1. Defrost spinach and squeeze the water out of the spinach.
2. Put drained spinach into a med size bowl.
3. Chop up red onion & bell pepper into noticeable chunks but not too big. Add to spinach and mix into to spinach.
4. Add grated cheeses
5. Mix eggs in a bowl and add ricotta to eggs and blend well.
6. Add to spinach blending ricotta well into the spinach. Set aside.
1. Heat up sauté pan and add pancetta. Cook until pancetta starts to brown.
2. Add butter and melt.
3. Add chopped sage and cook until leaves get dark.
4. Stir in flour and let cook for about a minute or so just to get flour cooked a bit (don’t let it brown).
5. Add half n half and whisk together making sure there are no lumps.
6. Add milk and simmer until thickened about 5-10 minutes.
7. Turn heat off and leave until ready to assemble lasagna!
ASSEMBLING AND COOKING YOUR LASAGNA:
13x9 Baking DishTry to use a deep lasagna pan rather than a regular baking dish. You want to have a lot of beautiful layers.
1. Spread béchamel on bottom of baking dish.
2. Put a layer of uncooked pasta on bottom on top of béchamel sauce. (You may have to cut and adjust pasta strips to fit your baking dish).
3. Spread a layer of ricotta mixture.
4. Put sausage on top ricotta.
5. Spread squash mixture on top of ricotta.
6. Put a layer pasta
7. Spread another layer of béchamel.
8. Repeat above layering again.
9. Do 2x’s if your pan is deep enough if not just one time.
10. Finish with a noodle layer with béchamel on top.
11. Spread mozzarella slices on top of béchamel, grate or sprinkle grated parmesan on top.
12. If you want to garnish with sage take cooked sage leaves and place in a design on top of cheese.
13. Line a cookie sheet with foil.
14.Put a foil tent on top of lasagna.
15. Put into oven and bake for 1 hr.
16.After baking for an hour remove foil sheet and bake for another 20-30 minutes until top is gold and bubbly.
17.Remove from oven and let set for about 15-20 and cut and serve.
SEMALINA PASTA DOUGH FOR LASAGNA
2 C Semolina flour
1 C Unbleached flour
5 Lrg whole eggs
1 lrg egg yolk
Dash of salt
1. Place your flour on a chopping board or on the counter. Mix the two flours together add salt. Spread out the dough and make a bowl with the flour up on the sides.
2. Put your eggs in center of the well add the salt and mix together with a fork.
3. After eggs are blended, start slowly blending in the flour a bit at a time being careful not to break the bowl wall.
4. Once eggs are blended into flour you can finish blending by hand.
5. Should be a nice semi soft mixture.
6. Kneed for 5-10 minutes. (The longer you kneed the silkier the pasta will be.)
7. Set aside for about 30 minutes or you can refrigerate for up to a week and can freeze for up to a month.
8. When you are ready to prepare noodle remove from frig and let come to room temp. Split into three pieces.
9. Take on third and press into a flat cake. The rest you can refrigerate or freeze.
10. Set pasta maker on largest setting.
11. Feed dough through pasta press.
12. Fold over and feed through again 2X’s.
13. Move dial to next setting and repeat above.
14.Move dial to next setting run through again. (at this point you may want to cut your piece of pasta in half)
15. Move to next setting.
16.Pasta is ready to be cooked or put into lasagna. I have cooked pasta and prepared the lasagna without cooking and I think it is much easier to place in lasagna without cooking. This is such a thin pasta lasagna noodle it is really hard to cook and get it to not stick and be able to put nice noodles into casserole. Again, the pasta is so thin it cooks just fine in the lasagna casserole.