Today, the last day of daylight savings time, was the coldest day of the fall so far. Perfect for staying in and trying out the recipe for Vegetable Lasagna with Butternut Béchamel I came across earlier this week.
Sebastian and I passed through a local market this morning on our way to brunch and indulged in a basket of fresh porcini mushrooms. From the last crop of the year, the vendor assured us. Remembering the recipe as best as I could from scanning it earlier in the week, I was fairly sure that all I needed was a butternut squash and some chard.
As usual when I cook, the recipe served mostly as inspiration.
The squash I prepared mostly as the recipe suggested. Peeled, cubed and roasted until soft, I then mashed it with some lemon zest, oregano and milk. In the end, I should have made the puree thinner if not as thin as suggested. Also, more salt.
At Sebastian’s insistence I agreed to add meat. Italian sausage would have been my top choice but all the grocery store had to offer was bratwurst, ground pork or ground beef. I bought the ubiquitous ground pork/beef mix and added my own herb paste of pepper corns, fennel seeds, oregano, sage, garlic and salt. It smelled and tasted decidedly Italian sausage-y.
A search for chard proved fruitless. Instead I decided to substitute frozen spinach I had in the freezer. After I sautéed the mushrooms in the grease from the meat, I added the minced garlic, the drained thawed spinach and a generous splash of wine.
Just before I started prepping the squash, I realized I’d completely forgotten to get cheese. After losing a game of rock-paper-scissors (our preferred decision making process) I headed out and grabbed, as a short cut, a pre-grated Emmentaler–Tilsiter mix and some Parmesan cheese.
I assembled the lasagna, mostly as directed, and baked it for 30 minutes with foil, 10 minutes without and 5 minutes under the broiler.
A salad of Feldsalat, head lettuce and parsley was hastily assembled while the lasagna cooled. It was dressed with my current favourite salad dressing, a mix of quark (use sour cream if you can’t get quark), cider vinegar, a bit of chopped leek, olive oil and salt.
The lasagna could have used more salt but otherwise was a perfect dish for a cold fall day, rich and flavourful.