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Blues from the pantry for Blue Monday

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From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite…
I don’t make this lasagna often, but the profusion of pumpkins at this time of year always brings it to mind. If you are looking for something different to serve as an appetizer, or need a light entree for a fall supper, you might want to give this a try. I’m recommending it to you with reservation. My experience is that folks either love or hate this lasagna. If you like squash you’ll probably enjoy it. If you like squash and goat cheese, you’ll love it. I would, however, suggest you introduce this as an appetizer and see what type of reaction you receive from your family and friends. While the play of ingredients in the recipe is fairly sophisticated, the lasagna is actually easy to make if you prepare it in logical steps. This is a Wolfgang Puck recipe that I found in the Chicago Tribune several years ago. I originally saved it to have on hand when I wanted something special to serve non-meat eating friends. I was also intrigued by the combination of ingredients. Unlike Italian lasagna, this does not freeze well. It will, however, keep for several days in the refrigerator. Here’s the recipe. If nothing else, I think you’ll find it interesting.

Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Lasagna…from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

1 pound dried lasagna noodles
Bechamel Sauce:
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons fresh creamy goat cheese or mascarpone
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 can (29 ounces) pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fresh minced sage leaves
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons creamy goat cheese
1 tablespoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
For assembly:
1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1) Heat a large stockpot of lightly salted water to a boil; fill a large mixing bowl with ice and water. Boil noodles until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain. Transfer to ice water to stop cooking. Drain noodles; arrange in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Set aside.
2) Meanwhile, to prepare sauce, melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat; sprinkle in flour, stirring continuously with a wire whisk. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes. Whisk in milk, then goat cheese, salt and pinch of nutmeg. Heat to a simmer; cook, whisking often, until thick and creamy, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.
3) To prepare filling, combine pumpkin puree, thyme, sage, nutmeg, bread crumbs, mascarpone, Parmesan, brown sugar, goat cheese, salt and pepper to taste in a large mixing bowl.
4) Heat oven to 400 degrees. To assemble lasagna, spread a third of pumpkin mixture on bottom of a lightly greased 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Cover with a layer of lasagna noodles, placed length-wise side by side, overlapping edges. Spread another third of filling over noodles; top with 3/4 cup of bechamel sauce. Top with another layer of noodles, remaining filling, and another 3/4 cup of bechamel sauce. Cover with a final layer of noodles and remaining bechamel sauce. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and Parmesan. Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with nonstick spray; place it sprayed-side down over lasagna in pan, folding edges over.
5) Bake until heated through and bubbling, about 50 minutes. Remove foil; bake until topping is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven; cool 10 minutes. Cut into rectangles or squares. Yield: 8 servings

Recipe courtesy of Wolfgang Puck and The Chicago Tribune.

This post is being linked to:

Smiling Sally – Blue Monday

Presto Pasta Nights hosted this month by Abby of Eat the Right Stuff

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