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After a long day of work, I was finally able to relax. And make LASAGNA! It's one of my favorite dishes to prepare....and eat. Who doesn't love the complexity of a something so saucy and delicious?
Do not get frightened by this post; it comes across as intimidating, but need not be. In fact, you could make just one component of the lasagna. Carrot top pesto or tomato sauce is extremely versatile. Put it on noodles, quinoa, raw veggies like radish...the possibilities are endless, really. The noodles can also be made into a different shapes like spaghetti or even ravioli.
Now, to being:
prepares 1 lb pasta, fresh
3 cups flour
2 pinches of salt, kosher
1/2 cup roasted carnival squash
1 Tablespoon water
2 tablespoons olive oil
When preparing the pasta, keep in mind it's no different than a simple pasta recipe but without the squash. The only additional steps are to roast and puree the squash (allow to cool before use). Make a well with the sifted flour and salt. Crack both eggs into the well, as well as the squash and water. With a fork, slowly incorporate the flour into the egg mixture. As it begins to form a ball, add the oil. Knead for 8-10 minutes and adjust accordingly with flour and water. Allow to rest and cover for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
With your pasta roller, roll out 3 sheets (the size of the pan) for the bottom layer to number 4. The remaining lasagna noodles are best rolled to number 5. Dry and boil for about three minutes. If you don't have a drying rack, improvise. See the pictures below for inspiration. Cool and lay flat (gently brush oil to cooked noodles to prevent tearing).
To make it more fun, sip on a beautiful Pinot Noir and take your time. This isn't a race. Enjoy yourself, and your food.
Carrot Top Pesto:
Prepares about 5 cups depending on desired consistency
1/2 cup toasted, pepitas
3/4 cup dried pie pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup toasted sprouted walnuts
2 cups packed carrot tops (stems removed)
6 cups fresh spinach
1 cup fresh basil
3 ounces of grated Pecorino Romano cheese
8 roasted garlic cloves
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preparation: Toast all nuts/seeds and blend in processor. Add garlic and pulse, careful not to pulse too much. Proceed and add spinach, basil and carrot tops in batches. Then add cheese. Very slowly pour the oils into the mixture as you process. Add the water the same way, streaming it into the vibrant green blend. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Words of advice:
Basic Tomato Sauce:
Yields 3 1/2 quarts
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
2 - 28 ounce cans of San Marzano tomatoes
4 ounces tomato paste
5 cloves garlice
1 pinch smoked Spanish paprika
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup dried basil
In a sauce pot, sweat onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add remaining ingredients and allow to simmer for 60 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and from heat. Puree with an immersion blender and adjust seasonings.
Prepares one large 9x13" pan
1 eggplant, flame roasted on stove top then pureed (skins removed)
1/2 kabocha squash, cubed and roasted (350F for 45 minutes with 2 T. oil, salt and pepper)
16 ounces ricotta
2 ounces Pecorino Romano
3 cups shredded mozzarella
Heat oven to 375F
Oil the lasagna pan and layer the thicker (#4) lasagna noodles on the bottom. Spread the roasted eggplant on the noodles. Follow with cubed kabocha squash. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese, add next layer of lasagna noodles. Spread pesto onto, followed by another layer of squash. Ladle tomato sauce, then top with noodles. Next comes more cheese, the ricotta. Then yet again, a layer of noodles. Put a thin layer of tomato sauce on top the noodles and sprinkle Asiago Romano to finish. Bake in oven for 50-60 minutes, until done.