Fabrizio was kind enough to finally slice, clean and roast the two pumpkins I bought back in October. Luckily, they were still absolutely perfect. He was certain they had begun to go bad. I roasted the diced pumpkin pieces and had a whole week’s worth of menu ideas. This was going to be a healthy start to my New Year. I enjoyed some of it in a delicious pumpkin risotto this past week.
Reflecting on 2011, I can say it was a sort of typical year filled with many highs and a few lows. Some lows I’d like to forget about forever. The good times? Well, there were plenty. Plenty more good times than the bad times. I was reading my sogni/dreams from last year. It’s still pretty much the same: I hope to have a year filled with good health, family, and wonderful friends. My wish in 2011 for good health sort of came true as I was sick and was blessed to have recovered.
I won’t be able to buy these magical days back. These are balloons from this New Year’s Eve at Fabrizio’s restaurant. Gabriella and our friend River walked all the way home from the restaurant with them to our house (with other adults);) . They wouldn’t fit in the car.
Gabriella said, “This was our first fun moment of 2012.” Yes. The first fun moment of many more to come.
Lasagne alle Zucca-Pumpkin Lasagne
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) pumpkin peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (or canned pumpkin)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
12 basil leaves
12 no-boil lasagna noodles (I use Barilla)
2 1/2 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese (I used slices of mozzarella)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with a generous amount of foil. Add the diced pumpkin. Drizzle on the olive oil and mix it around with your hands to incorporate the oil. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pumpkin with the foil and fold the sheets under. Bake the pumpkin in this foil pouch for about 45 minutes until the pumpkin is tender. Cool slightly and then transfer the squash to a food processor. Blend until smooth. If the mixture is too dry, add about a 1/4 cup of water to the pumpkin puree. Test the flavor and season with more salt and pepper to taste.
*As I was assembling the lasagne, I ended up making another portion of the besciamella. I like my lasagne to have more of a creamy consistency and thought it better to have more. If you like it very creamy, make another batch and if you don’t end up using it with the lasagne, you could use it another pasta dish.:)
Melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk together until incorporated. The flour will be very dry. Raise the heat to medium-high and in 1/2 cup portions, gradually whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. The besciamella will continue to thicken even when you remove from the heat. If it seems to dense, whisk in a little bit more of mil. Whisk in the nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.