Hey! Happy New Year. You may be wondering what’s with the Pumpkin Lasagne? It’s not fall any more. It’s not even 2011 any more.
Where did 2011 go? I’m still stuck on Halloween and even had some pumpkins on my counter that needed roasting.
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.
I was going to make it again for New Year’s Day and then remembered how much my dad loves lasagna. I also was thinking there is no way I would be stirring a risotto for 20 minutes on New Year’s Day. So I assembled this lasagna the night before, covered it with foil, and popped it in the fridge until the next day.
Clever, aren’t I?;)
You’re really supposed to let the lasagne set after you take it out. Then you can get cleaner slices for photos. Today we weren’t really thinking too much about photos and Fabrizio had to be back at the restaurant for inventory. So this slice isn’t that pretty, but let me tell you how ooey, gooey and delicious it was! Oh my goodness.
It’s the New Year and I should be thinking more about my diet. Diet? Yes, we were all discussing diets today at our New Year’s Day lunch. My mom was mentioning Weight Watcher’s and the point system. She has her goals for the new year. Gabriella and I were talking about getting in more exercise. Luca was talking about walking the doggies more. He has his goals too.
As I was serving myself a second ooey and gooey slice, I thought hard about those resolutions I should be making. Like possibly eating better. I have been a good girl and cutting out dairy as much as I can from my diet.
I dream of eating mountains of green leafy vegetables every single day. Before I conquer those mountains, I needed to enjoy this. And Fabrizio declared, “This is a perfect and healthy lunch. A slice of this and a nice salad…perfetto!” I completely agree.
My Prosecco from New Year’s Eve. I had only one glass and it was wonderful.
Sogni per 2012-Dreams for 2012
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.
Am I blessed? Yes. Very blessed. What are my goals and resolutions? I have plenty of dreams and aspirations. Some are related to my food blog. Most are related to just me. I’ve given up on listing them as I usually lose my list. I keep a mental list and review it every once and a while. Top on my list most every year is usually to try to be a better person and mom. I feel the urge to spend more time with my kids and less on my computer.
Writing about food is important to me, but at what expense? So many thoughts about my blog fill me these past few months. The same questions keep passing through my head: do I need to feel panicky because I can’t always pump out 3 posts a week I as I like to? Sometimes I may only find the time to write two posts a week. Are two posts good enough? Will my stats drastically drop? What about if I don’t find the time to support my fellow bloggers religiously during the week via Twitter, Stumble Upon and other ways? Will they forget about me? Who knows the answers to these ?’s. Does it change my status in the real world? Does it really matter in the grand scheme of things? I’m still figuring out how to juggle writing about food and the rest of my life.
The years spent with my kids will fly by. Soon they’ll be young adults and will want nothing to do with their dorky mom.
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.
And what about my parents? How about more quality time with them? My dad who is the master of all work and no play…I vow to get more walks on the beach with him. Maybe he’ll even teach me his secret Christmas Ham recipe. That’s him this Christmas. No famous Christmas sweater this year because it was above 80 F this Christmas.:)
I came across a really neat post in my Foodbuzz inbox called, “I Want to Matter” written by Linda of Salty Seattle. It resonated with me. Maybe it will with you as well.
If you don’t happen to have any pumpkins from Halloween laying around your kitchen, you could use canned pumpkin or even some lovely squash. Either way, the lasagne will be lovely. The besciamella is crazy good. I doubled the portion and made extra because I used a larger pan this time. You could double it and make it creamier and save what’s left for another pasta recipe. Just make this and enjoy. Life is sweet.
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
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
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
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.
Spread 3/4 cup of the besciamella over the baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/3 of the pumpkin puree over the noodles. Spread the besciamella on top of the pumpkin puree. Place a few basil slices over the besciamella. Layer on your mozzarella slices (or if using shredded, sprinkle it on). Repeat layering 3 more times. On the last layer, sprinkle on the Parmigiano Reggiano on top of the mozzarella cheese.
Add a few dabs of butter to the top of the lasagna. Cover the baking pan with foil and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Carefully remove the foil paper and bake about another 10-15 minutes or until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden. In order to have neater slices, let the lasagna rest for about 15 minutes before serving.
Thank you for your support, comments, and friendship this past year. It means the world to me and I adore all of you.
What are your goals for 2012? What really matters to you?