Autumn orange

Every season has a color, even on your plate. Orange is definitely a color connected to this season with as ingredient number 1, the squash. 

During our road trip through a part of Italy we discovered local specialities. We had lunch on several different places as in Mantova. There we tasted the amazing ‘tortelli di zucca’. The filling is based on pumpkin, mostarda and amarettini, cookies made of almonds. I couldn’t resist to buy some mostarda di mela (apple) campanina, which is the one used in the recipe. A dish with tortelli is lots of pasta and little vegetables, so I will do the opposite, of course. 

For soups you can use every kind of pumpkin, although the flavor improves if you use a tasty one. For this recipe, you need a good one with an intense sweet nutty  flavor. For a lasagna for 6 ( smaller portions) you need 1 kilo of pumpkin meat, 125 grams of thin fresh lasagna sheets, 50 grams of grated parmesan, 1 table spoon of the mostarda, 50 grams of amaretti biscots, 4 garlic cloves, fresh sage, 750 ml of semi skimmed milk, 250 grams of ricotta, olive oil, butter, nutmeg and vegetal stock powder.

Cut the pumpkin in quarters, remove tbe seeds. Put the quarters in an oven dish. Spread some olive oil. Cover with aluminium foil. Put in the oven at 220 for 40-50 minutes, until tender. Cool down in tbe oven. Remove the skin. Keep 1 kilo for the lasagna and put the leftover in the freezer for a later occasion.

Prepare a bechamel sauce with 1 large table spoon of butter, 1 large table spoon of flour, 4 garlic cloves ( that’s my extra twist🙃), the milk, nutmeg, pepper, salt and some vegetal stock powder. Finish with a handful chopped fresh sage and the ricotta. Mix the puree with the sauce. Taste, add pepper and salt. Put the amaretti in a small cutter. Be careful while adding the mostarda and cookies powder to the puree. The tortelli filling in Mantova is really sweet, but for a lasagna ( my opinion) it will easily become annoying if too sweet. So I add the mostarda and cookies bits by bits to obtain the right balance, which was 50 grams of cookies and 1 table spoon of mostarda.

Grease a rectangular oven dish of 20/30 cm. Start with the sauce, then parmesan, lasagna sheet and continue. I have 3 layers of each. Finish with cheese and a few sage leaves.

Bake in the oven at 200° for 25-35 minutes, until hot and golden brown.

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