My cousin Robin sent me a link to a food blog that had posted one of Wolfgang Puck's creations that sounded interesting - Pumpkin Lasagna. I almost didn't try it because I've had Wolfgang Puck's frozen pizza (a word of advice to other chefs - don't!) and I've seen his junk cookware but it sounded like it would be fun and maybe even good. In Italy it's very common to have Pumpkin or Squash puree in stuffed noodles and they've become a favorite in our house. My other reason for making the recipe is that I don't really like Lasagna. This may sound counter-intuitive but it's not. Classic Lasagna is about as interesting as classic Spaghetti (sorry Spaghetti lovers) in that it's well - boring. There's nothing interesting about a tomato sauce and noodles topped with cheese. Yes, kids like it but that's because they don't know any better. Why make Pumpkin Lasagna? Because it isn't boring! So we followed the recipe as posted at the One Perfect Bite food blog which made it according to the original recipe (I assume) by using Pumpkin and Chevre. The one red flag was the amount of salt used in the filling - ONE TABLESPOON! That seemed excessive to me but I hate it when I go through the trouble of making a recipe and people substitute cheese whiz for Froie Gras then complain so in the 1 Tbsp of salt went. I didn't have enough fresh Thyme so I had to commit the ultimate evil and dig through the cupboard for the dried version. I had fresh sage and ground some nutmeg. The recipe called for "goat cheese" (whatever that is) or Mascarpone which sounded good so I used that. We had a ton of Delicata Squash in the garage so we baked it cut side down the way I do pumpkins and it turned out real nice.
Conclusion: I think this recipe has real promise. If you like eating Squash then you'll love Squash Lasagna. However I was right on the money with the salt issue. I'm fairly certain that it was meant to be 1 tsp (teaspoon) and not 1 tbsp (tablespoon) as we had to gag it down. We'll be making it again later this week with a bit less Thyme, Sage and Salt. I believe this is the first time I've not doubled the herbs in a recipe and in fact pulled them back. Usually recipes lack flavor and need kick.
Tonight I decided not to do anything complex. I was at Safeway and they had prosciutto for half price (about $11/lb) so I picked up some and of course that led to getting some cantelope which in turn led to getting some red bell peppers and fresh cheese tortellini which were also on sale. Actually all of it was. You can't have these other things without some sort of bread so a baguette went in the bag as well. The checkout lady pointed at the prosciutto and asked me what it was. I said "prosciutto" and she said she could read it but what was it, was it salmon? It was all I could do but blink. No it's ham I said which was followed by her asking me what I do with it. I wrap it around melons along with Italian sweet basil and drizzle it with olive oil as an appetizer. I thought she was going to melt. She seemed to think it sounded very good. It's so easy I'm not sure why other people don't do things like this. A baby could do it!
I roasted the red bell peppers under the broiler and then tossed them in a ziplock bag to steam. A mixture of fresh garlic and butter slopped on to the bagguette set it up nicely. The fresh tortellini went in a pot of heavily salted water and two shallots and a couple of cloves of garlic went in a frypan with olive oil until translucent. A can of Campbell's condensed tomato soup and an additional can of milk was then mixed in along with the pealed red bell peppers and the whole mess was thrown in the blender and pureed. Back in the pan I added a very healthy handful of basil and a dab of olive oil for good measure. As I said earlier the melon was pealed and cut in thin slices then wrapped with prosciutto, basil and drizzled with olive oil. For a quick meal it turned out really well.
.Years ago I ate at the Europa Pizzaria in Spokane Wa, and had the most sublime creme sauce ever. It had sweet peppers in it and was so very mild that at first it didn't grab you but after each bite my willingness to take another bite grew. By the time I got to the end I was licking my plate. Here we are years later and I'm attempting to recreate it. I've only tried to make it a few times and I'm still nowhere near but I thought I'd post a pic or two anyway...
I've been in the mood to make some real pasta in a while and have been wanting to try out agnolotti. Agnolotti are Piedmonts version of ravioli and I have to say that I think Piedmont has something over on the rest of Italy. They're pretty easy to make and you don't need forms like Ravioli plus they hold more sauce than Ravioli do.I filled the Agnolotti with sweet potatoes as apposted to using butternut squash as usual. The sweet potatoes after being spiced up with squab spices (cloves, cinnamon, corriander, black pepercorns, allspice, white pepper toasted and then all ground in a spice grinder) and mixed with butter and diced bacon taste about the same but has more body.
The sauce is a mix of buerre monte and creme fraiche with 1/3 cup of blanched sage leaves blended in and strained. It's then topped with jullienned proccuto, browned butter and deep fried sage leaves.
As a side note: I've noticed my youtube videos don't show up on my main page. To see them go to Food -> Blog