Pumpkin Lasagna

We made our favorite fall meal for dinner this weekend – pumpkin lasagna!

It’s a very rich lasagna of pumpkin, sage, prosciutto, and creamy bechamel sauce. It’s best served with just a small side salad and a little crusty bread. We usually halve the recipe, then assemble in 2 bread pans, then eat one and freeze one for another time.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin, Prosciutto, and Parmesan Lasagna
from Cold-Weather Cooking by Sarah Leah Chase

Pumpkin Filling
1/2 C unsalted butter
6 leeks, trimmed, rinsed well, and minced
4 cups pumpkin purée fresh or canned
1/2 C dry white wine
s&p

Bechamel
1/2 C unsalted butter
6 Tbs flour
2 C chicken broth
2 C light cream
1 C Parmesan cheese
1/2 Tsp nutmeg
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
S&P

For the Layers
1 and 1/4 packages of precooked lasagna sheets, enough for three layers of three sheets each
8 oz prosciutto
1/4 C fresh sage leaves, torn into pieces
1 1/2 C Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 15 x 10 casserole or baking pan.

Filling
Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet and sauté the leeks until very tender, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Stir in the pumpkin and the white wine and cook for 2 additional minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, add some salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Bechamel
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the chicken stock, then the light cream; cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened. Stir in the Parmesan and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Stir 1/2 C of the hot sauce into the beaten eggs in a small bowl, then stir the egg mixture into the remaining sauce. Cook a couple minutes longer, stirring constantly, then remove from the heat.

To Assemble
Male a layer of the lasagna noodles in the prepared casserole and top with half of the prosciutto and 1/3 of the bechamel. Sprinkle 1/2 of the sage. Cover with another layer of lasagna sheets and spoon all of the pumpkin filling on top, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over pumpkin layer. Make another layer of lasagna noodles and top with the rest of the prosciutto, another 1/3 of the bechamel, and the remaining sage. Make a final layer of noodles and top with remaining bechamel and Parmesan.

Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, until the top lightly browned. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Serves 12.

Window Treatment

So I took a very basic sewing class a couple years ago and have since sewed a few curtains, a few valences, and…well, that’s been it. I’m not a great sewer but I can get by and curtains and valences are the 2 easiest things to sew.

Here is my latest window treatment project. I bought this fabric for our kitchen curtains during our summer vacation in Newport in July. The fabric has been pinned and ready to go for about a month now, and I finally just got around to finishing them the other night!
At least they came out nice!

Homemade Marinara

I make a giant batch of tomato sauce every six months or so to freeze, defrost, and use as needed. Well, this afternoon was sauce day so I thought I would share the recipe we have adapted just a bit and made our own.

Perfect Tomato Sauce
from Food & Wine, 2008 Annual Cookbook
1C extra-virgin olive oil
8 to 12 whole, peeled cloves of garlic (depending on your taste for garlic)
4 Tb tomato paste
3 35-oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 35-oz can whole tomatoes
dash of sugar
bunch of basil
2 bay leaves
s&p to taste
In a large saucepan (we have to use our 9-qt. le crueset) heat olive oil. Add garlic and saute until brown, about 5 mins. Add tomato paste and cook for just a minute. Add all 4 cans of tomatoes. Stir in sugar, basil, bay leaves, and s&p. Bring to a boil. Cook for at least 30 mins for sauce to thicken, but we usually leave it simmering for a few hours. Remove basil and garlic before serving.
Notes:
– Once sauce has reduced to desired consistency, put into containers to freeze.
– We usually let this sauce simmer so long the garlic mostly dissolves so you do not need to remove it before serving/freezing.
– I like a chunkier sauce, so we use 1 can of whole tomatoes instead of all 4 cans of crushed. Right before serving/freezing, mash sauce with a potato masher to break up the whole tomatoes a bit.
– This sauce can be “sauced up” to make other types of tomato sauce too:
Add anchovies, olives, and capers to make Puttanesca.
Add pancetta, vodka, and heavy cream to make Vodka.
Add a mix of cooked ground meat (lamb, pork, beef) to make Bolognese.