Butternut Pumpkin & Broccoli Rabe Lasagna

The heat wave has broken and Autumn is finally here!!  To celebrate the welcoming of a new season and new flavours, we have a dish that will ease you into those cooler days and chilly nights.

Although broccoli rabe or rapini resemble broccoli, they are actually not related at all. Forming part of the turnip family broccoli rabe is very popular in Italian cuisine.  They lend a nutty and slightly bitter flavour to this dish which offsets the sweetness of the butternut pumpkin.

Serving suggestion: Serve up this delightfully decadent dish to six of your favourites.

Ingredients

  • 1kg butternut pumpkin, peeled, halved, seeded & sliced
  • A large bunch of broccoli rabe, woody stems removed
  • Some olive oil on hand
  • Chilli flakes - just to add a bit of heat
  • Freshly ground black pepper and salt
  • 500g of fresh mozzarella (hmm yum)
  • 500g of fresh whole milk ricotta
  • 1 cup of parmigiano, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon of grated lemon zest
  • Fresh sage & rosemary to your liking
  • 175g of unsalted butter (béchamel sauce)
  • 1/4 cup of all purpose plain flour (béchamel sauce)
  • 5 cups of milk (béchamel sauce)
  • A hint of ground nutmeg (béchamel sauce)
  • Salt & pepper to taste (béchamel sauce)
  • Our made to order fresh pasta sheets (4/5 sfoglie or sheets)

Method

  • Start by preheating your oven to 200 degrees. Then place the butternut pumpkin in a large baking dish and season with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • While the pumpkin is roasting (until tender) blanch the broccoli rabe in a large pot of boiling, salted water for 1-2 minutes. When ready don't forget to squeeze out the excess water before roughly chopping. Get out the olive oil, salt and pepper again but this time add a little chilli.
  • Next, mix the mozzarella and remaining ingredients together in a large bowl, and once again ... don't forget the seasoning.
  • In a heavy based saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat. Add the flour and stir until slightly thickened.
  • Increasing the heat slightly, slowly whisk in half a cupful of milk at a time until the sauce is thickened and smooth (no lumps!). This is when you add a pinch of nutmeg.
  • Finally, reduce the heat to low, add a touch more milk if too thick and cook for approximately 10 minutes (Easy does it - you don't want to brown the sauce).
  • Cook the pasta sheets in a large pot of salted, boiling water until al dente.
  • Place a little béchamel sauce on the bottom of a large dish and place a layer of pasta on top (tear to fit). Layer a third of the pumpkin, the broccoli rabe, the mozzarella mixture and a drizzling of the béchamel sauce. Repeat the layers another two times and finish with some grated parimigiano.
  • Place the lasagna in a 180 degree oven for around 30-40 minutes until lasagna is golden brown and starts to bubble with béchamel goodness.
  • This final step is the hardest - let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving :) !
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