Lasagna With Sugar Pumpkin, Ricotta, And Fried Sage Leaves
|Fresh thyme sprig||2|
|Fresh parsley sprigs||2 (Plus 1/2 Cup Minced)|
|Minced parsley||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)|
|Milk||3 Cup (48 tbs)|
|Salt||4 Teaspoon (1 Tablespoon Plus 1 Teaspoon)|
|Dried lasagna noodles||1 Pound (1 Box, About 19 Strips)|
|Corn oil||3⁄4 Cup (12 tbs)|
|Fresh sage leaves||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)|
|Kosher salt||To Taste|
|Sugar pumpkin/Butternut squash||2 Pound, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced|
|Freshly ground pepper||To Taste|
|Part skim ricotta cheese||1 Pound|
|Unsalted butter||3 Tablespoon|
|Garlic clove||1 Large, minced|
|Yellow onion||5 Ounce, thinly sliced (1 Small Yellow Onion)|
|All purpose flour||3 Tablespoon|
|Freshly grated nutmeg||1⁄4 Teaspoon|
|Vegetable oil cooking spray||1|
|Grated parmesan cheese||4 Ounce (Preferably Parmigiano Reggiano, 1 Cup)|
Cut an 8-inch square of cheesecloth, and place the bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme and parsley sprigs in the center.
Bring up the ends to form a bag and tie securely with kitchen twine.
In a 272-quart saucepan, combine the milk and bag of spices and heat until hot, but do not let the milk boil.
Simmer for 2 minutes; then remove from the heat and allow to steep while preparing the remaining ingredients.
Fill an 8- to 10-quart stockpot two-thirds full of water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat.
Add the 1 tablespoon of salt; then add the lasagna noodles, stir, and cook until al dente (cooked through but still slightly chewy), about 10 minutes.
Drain in a colander, rinse with cold water, drain again, and reserve until ready to assemble the lasagna.
In a heavy, 8-inch saute pan, heat the oil until it registers 365°F on a deep-fat thermometer.
It should be hot, but not smoking.
Have ready a baking sheet lined with a double-thickness of paper towels.
Working quickly, fry one-third of the sage leaves for about 5 seconds; then, using a slotted spoon, transfer to the paper towels.
Fry two additional batches.
Set the cooking oil aside.
Generously sprinkle the sage leaves with kosher salt, and reserve.
In a 12-inch saute pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the reserved oil over medium-high heat.
Without crowding the pan, add slices of pumpkin and saute until just beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.
Turn, and saute on the other side; then remove and drain on a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
Continue sauteing the pumpkin slices in batches, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
Sprinkle the sauteed pumpkin with the cayenne and add pepper to taste.
In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta and 1/2 cup minced parsley.
TO MAKE THE WHITE SAUCE Melt the butter in a 3 1/2- to 4-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat.
Swirl to coat the pan; then saute the garlic and onion, stirring constantly, until just beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.
Add the flour to the pan, stirring constantly, until the flour is blended and cooked through, 1 minute longer.
Remove the spice bag from the milk, and slowly whisk in the milk, about 1 cup at a time.
Bring the sauce to a simmer, and cook, whisking constantly, until it has thickened, about 5 minutes.
Add the 1 teaspoon of salt and the nutmeg.
Stir to blend, and taste and adjust the seasonings.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with the cooking spray.
Lay 3 strips of lasagna noodles lengthwise across the bottom of the prepared dish.
Add half of the white sauce, and spread evenly.
Place 3 more strips of pasta in the pan.
Layer half the pumpkin slices evenly over the noodles.
Crumble the fried sage leaves, and sprinkle half evenly over the top.
Place 3 more strips of noodles on top.
Use a rubber spatula to spread all the ricotta evenly over the pasta, and then add 3 more strips of noodles.
Layer the remaining pumpkin slices over the top and sprinkle with the remaining sage.
Add 3 more strips of pasta, and then spread the remaining white sauce evenly on top.
For the final layer, add 4 strips of noodles and sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan.
(The lasagna can be can be made up to 1 day in advance.
Refrigerate, covered, and bring to room temperature 1 hour before baking.) Bake until bubbly hot and nicely browned at the edges, about 1 hour.
Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting the lasagna into squares and serving.