My brother-in-law, Jock, introduced me to this recipe over a year ago. It wasn’t until Mo and I were at the Shapiro’s holiday party for the Communications Strategy Group, that I too fell in love with this wonderful lasagne. Steven’s wife Tracey throws the best holiday party. She used the Denver based caterer Kristen Hanson. Everything was delicious but no one could stop talking about the lasagne.
When I got home I quickly checked my Everyday Italian book but it wasn’t there, however it is on the Food Network’s site. Michael Chiarello had one posted there too, but his is a little more complex. Giada’s features crumbled amaretti cookies, which makes this dish unique. I made a few alterations which included adding mushrooms and caramelized onions and removing the basil just because I didn’t have any. For Giada’s recipe click here.
I followed her recipe exactly except for a few things. I used whole wheat flour for my bechamel sauce (white sauce) as this gives it a nutty flavor. Additionally I added:
1 lb. sliced Shitake mushrooms, sauteed with 2 chopped garlic cloves and 1/4 tsp. dried thyme.
3 onions, sliced and caramelized (You can use Kimberly’s slow cooker method featured on the French Onion Soup or use Tracey’s method in her Israeli Couscous)
I layered the mushrooms and onions together between sheets of fresh pasta. Giadia uses the no-boil variety. I think making it with fresh is better but if you’re pressed for time use the no boil sheets.
My layers were as follows:
Bechamel, lasagne sheet, butternut squash puree and cheeses, lasgane sheet, bechamel, mushrooms, onions, and parmesan cheese, lasagne sheet, butternut squash and cheeses, final lasagne sheet and bechamel and cheese. So the 3 layers were 2 butternut squash and one onion and mushroom. Delicious!
Being pressed for time one night, I used the frozen butternut squash. I defrosted sauteed it with 1 diced yellow onion it then pureed it in the food processor with the basil and ameretti cookies which shaved off a bit of time. I know there is even canned butternut now so that might be another way to try it, either way, this recipe is really good.I served it with some grilled asparagus. It’s light, delicate, yet flavorful. Perfect with a glass of white wine.
PS from Kimberly: Stay tuned for Pumpkin and Sausage Lasagne, the pictures have not made it out of the camera yet. Clearly lasagne is perfect fare for cold winter nights.