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    Saturday, June 09, 2007

    Lasagna and a new Baby

    We just had a wonderful couple of days at Omaha Beach.
    Just taking advantage of the first few days of winter sun.
    Reading papers and eating lunch outdoors…soup with some of the local Ciabatta and cheese.

    During the day Sheryl and Michael became Grandparents for the very first time and in the general excitement Sheryl wrote the name of the new baby girl on her blackboard.
    The proud Grandma in her kitchen

    One problem...she got the name wrong and after an afternoon of calling the wee soul Della we discovered her name is actually Stella.
    So welcome Stella Kaye.
    We all had a few drinks and I made a roast vege Lasagna, with Pesto oil Ricotta and Puttanesca sauce to celebrate.
    This was inspired by Emeril Lagasse and is delicious…a little rich so you don’t need huge helping.
    It makes a good accompaniment to a nice piece of grilled fish or some roast beef which is how we ate it.
    A lovely fresh salad alongside would be excellent.
    For the roast vegetables…as it is winter I changed the usual suspects (eggplant courgettes etc) to butternut, red onion, fennel, carrots and celery.
    And for the ricotta 50/50 basil and coriander.

    There are a few steps before assembling this dish but don’t forget you can make it earlier in the day, just pop it in the oven, leaving you free to enjoy your friends before dinner
    You need
    1 packet fresh lasagna pasta
    250 gms grated mozzarella

    The Roast Vege
    1 red freshly ground black pepper chunked
    ½ butternut peeled, deseeded and sliced
    2 red onions – peeled, cut into 8
    2 carrots – halved and sliced
    Fennel – sliced
    Celery – cut into chunks
    2 tablespoons Olive oil
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    First toss your vege in Olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Roast in 180C oven about 30 minutes
    While they are roasting in a pan make
    The Puttanesca Sauce:
    ¼ cup olive oil
    1 cup finely chopped onion
    6 cloves minced garlic
    3 x 400gm cans Roma plum tomatoes, broken into pieces, with juice
    1 cup tightly packed, pitted, chopped Kalamata olives
    2 tablespoons tomato paste
    2 tablespoons drained capers
    2 tablespoons (about 8) minced anchovy fillets
    ½ teaspoon dried crushed basil
    ½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes

    In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium high heat.
    Add the onion and sauté until soft and lightly caramelized,
    about 6 minutes.
    Add the garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes.
    Add the tomatoes and the remaining ingredients and
    simmer until the sauce is thickened and slightly reduced, about 40 minutes.
    Adjust seasoning to taste, cover and set aside.
    The Pesto Ricotta
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
    1 cup coriander leaves
    1 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1 teaspoon salt

    900 gms ricotta
    1 teaspoon salt
    To make the Pesto oil
    In the bowl of a food processor or blender place the garlic, basil and
    Process on high while adding the olive oil in a steady stream.
    Continue to process until well blended,
    Season with salt to taste

    In a medium bowl mix the ricotta cheese with salt and half a cup of Pesto Oil
    and set aside until ready to assemble lasagna.
    Now to assemble
    Lightly grease a large rectangular baking dish,
    then spoon 1/2 cup of Puttanesca Sauce onto the bottom of the dish.
    Cover with a layer of lasagna noodles.
    Top the lasagna with a layer of ricotta,
    then a layer of roast vegetables
    A layer of grated mozzarella, and a layer of puttanesca sauce.
    Repeat layering the lasagna, ricotta, vegetables, mozzarella and sauce in this manner until all ingredients have been used, ending with mozzarella on top.

    Heat the oven to 170CBake until the lasagna is bubbling and golden brown, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

    Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving, drizzled with some of the remaining pesto oil.

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