Posted by: A Part of the Solution | October 19, 2010

Weekend Work Party Menu: Dinner

I slacked. I didn’t make the pasta for the lasagnas for dinner. Which is odd, as I like making pasta though I still don’t own one of those nifty heavy hand-cranked pasta machines either. But I did see the lasagnas through, and both pans were accounted delicious.

For the Pumpkin Lasagna, I made a pesto. I used  toasted pecans, 1 1/2 cups, and flat leaf parsley, about two store-bought bunches worth (if the bunches are big). I put the miso in with these, and about 3 1/2 TBSP olive oil, and a couple TBSP of sherry vinegar.  This is instead of the black walnuts, parsley and shallots in the originally posted recipe linked above. I also braised about six leeks, first sautéing them in olive oil and then pouring a ladle of stock over them adding a lid and covering to cook about twenty minutes. Don’t forget to season the pumpkin, the leeks and the pesto separately. If each component is well seasoned, they’ll come together harmoniously. Layer the pan with sauce, noodles, 1/2 the pesto and then the pumpkin, after that the leeks, then start over with sauce. End with sauce and a few more toasted pecans sprinkled on top.

Seasonal Greens were red kale, curly kale, white chard and turnip greens (from those baby turnips in the borscht at lunch).  I served Apple Crisp for dessert, which was accompanied by vanilla ice cream from the famous creamery at Penn State, courtesy of our crack WWOOFing team.

If you don’t care for hot peppers, use red and other colors of bell peppers–about four altogether should do it. Make this lasagna vegetarian by pulsing 16 oz of prepared seitan to a coarse crumble and mixing it with 6 oz of Gimme Lean®–or similar ‘ground’ product. It sautés effectively in small amounts of stock (seasoning: 2 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1/4 tsp caraway seeds, 1/4 tsp coriander seeds in the spice grinder–stir well in to ground/seitan mixture).

Sausage and (Hot) Pepper Lasagna

12 oz cherry bomb peppers

12 oz Hungarian wax peppers

1 1/2 lb Italian spicy sausage, lightly sautéed and drained

1/2 recipe All Purpose Tomato Sauce

1 box lasagna noodles

1 small onion peeled and stuck with 3 whole cloves

2 small bay leaves

2 1/2 cups of milk, or soy milk, or oat milk, or nut milk, but rice milk is too sweet

2 TBSP oil

3 1/2 TBSP flour

1 oz grated Parmesan, Grana Padano or Romano cheese (optional)

Roast the peppers on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, turning once or twice as they brown. Put the peppers in a bowl and cover them so that they steam. When they’re cool enough, pull their peel off and take the seeds and veins out of their interiors. Slice them into small strips. This can be done well ahead, like sautéing the sausage and making the tomato sauce–as in up to one week ahead.

Heat the small onion with the bay leaves in the milk over low-to-moderate heat. In a sauté pan, heat the oil and then stir in the flour and keep whisking until it is smooth and thick. The roux will thin, and then it will become sandy and bubbly and begin to take color. Add the hot milk, whisking steadily the while. When the beschiamella sauce has thickened, pass it through a sieve to soften any lumps.

Assemble the lasagna in a 9×13 pan which has been well-oiled. Ladle sauce onto the bottom of the pan. Add a layer of noodles followed by half the mixed roasted peppers topped by half the sautéed sausage. Repeat sauce, noodles, peppers, sausage, sauce and noodles. Make sure the sauce comes to within 1/8″ of the top of the lasagna. Now pour the beschiamella over the top and spread it evenly all over. Cover the lasagna pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 375° oven for 55 minutes. Take the cover off and bake another 25 minutes until the beschiamella begins to brown slightly. Allow to rest 15 minutes and serve.

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