Saturday, November 11, 2006

I heart non-traditional pasta dishes

Squash and Leek Lasagna, as bastardized from Eating Well's recipe. Turned out right nice.

1 large acorn squash (although any winter squash will get the job done.)
2 medium leeks, chopped finely. Ditch the dark green parts.
1 medium yellow onion
2-3 cups ricotta
1 egg
10-12 oz lasagna noodles
3 cups milk
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp (or slightly less) ground nutmeg
ground pepper
parmesean cheese
1/4 c pine nuts (way optional)

Since I was not in the mood to peel and grate an acorn squash, I baked that bad boy instead. Cut it in half, scooped out the seeds, and let it go for about 50 minutes in a 400 degree oven with a pan of water under it.
Meanwhile, I discovered the true meaning of bechamel. White sauces of all types are one of my culinary bugbears. Probably because I'm impatient and tend to fly half-cocked into recipes -- I can be pretty cavalier about improvising, to mixed results. Anyhow, this go around, I did everything right...and with leeks! I melted a mass of butter (3-4ish tbs) and cooked the leeks until they were soft and good-smelling. The recipe called for 1/4 c flour, but I can't stand floury-tasting sauces, so I probably used half of that. Added the milk slooooowly. Stirred, added spices, allowed to thicken. AND IT WORKED. I was so thrilled. Were it not for this damn foot, I'd have jigged a small jig. I then mashed the ricotta together with the egg, half of the thyme, and some ground pepper. The bowl was too small. It got messy. I probably should have steamed the spinach for a moment or two, but that seemed like too many dishes. Meh. Boiled the noodles. Tried to keep them from sticking together with dubious success. Anyway, once the squash was done, I layered: noodles, squash, sauce, noodles, cheese, spinach. Repeated that until I started to run out of squash (note to self: there is no such thing as too little squash. Shop accordingly.) Topped with parmesean and toasted pine nuts (actually, I only put nuts on half, since I'm not wild about them. John liked them. I could have taken or left them, to be honest. They're expensive!) Baked for 50 minutes at 350 with foil, and another 20 or so without. I'd make a wine recommendation, but I am incapable. Beer, on the other hand, I can do. Alaska's Winter Warmer was nice, and it's seasonal! And it has spruce tips in it! Therefore, it tastes like Alaska. A nut brown would probably work too.

Does anyone know anything about insurance settlements? I'm lost in jargon.


M. said...

Damn these blogthingies and their not-having email addresses! Anyway. Am having birthday shindig Friday. You should come. Bring all and sundry. Call for address. Etc., etc., etc.

katie mckay bryson said...

shall make forthwith.

Katie said...

damn... i'm so torn between this and the pumpkin curry for thanksgiving. i really want to do beautiful lasagna, in case the turkey turns out crappily (so very possible), but i'm afraid of having another oven-thing going.

ps, if you really are going nuts over the insurance thing, i can check details with ma lawyer-uncle. one of 'em anyway. though i'm sure your family network can offer lawyers, too.