Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash and Rosemary Lasagne
Over the years I have found that you cannot really go wrong with a lasagne, be it ordering one from a chain or fancy restaurant, or making it yourself..as long as you get the basics right: the bechamel needs to be light and not too thick, and of course that the lasagne sheets are cooked through!
My lasagne recipe is based on a Jamie Oliver one, however I have shaken it up and changed it quite a lot! The bechamel recipe however, is all his (I mean, I don’t see the point in changing a perfectly good bechamel – and this one is super simple).
I thought the combination of flavours between the rosemary, pork mince (also beef) and the sweet potato and butternut squash would pair perfectly. I not only have sprinkled the rosemary on top but also fried it right at the beginning with the added ingredient of pancetta, which I decided not to include in the title of this one as it really is used as just a flavour enhancer.
I really urge you to try this recipe. It does a take a bit of time and love to make, but that’s what Italian cooking is all about – the passion of making food for your loved ones.
I decided to use fresh lasagne sheets by Natoora for this recipe (not sponsored) as I really wanted the authentic taste of a lasagne made in a little Italian trattoria. Although I am fully aware that most Italians for years have been using dried pasta; even those that made fresh pasta themselves, they would sell it and buy dried pasta.
I froze my leftover lasagne sheets, ready for my next lasagne mission! I also managed to make two mini lasagnes to freeze (before oven baking) and had plenty of sauce leftover too to freeze. This recipe really does provide for a plentiful couple of meals!
3 pancetta slices
3 sprigs of rosemary
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
300g minced beef
300g minced pork
2 x 400g tins tomatoes
100ml beef stock
350g of butternut squash and sweet potato, cubed
Fresh lasagne sheets (amount varies between which dish you use)
100g cherry tomatoes
1 ball of mozzarella
1 bay leaf
75g butter, unsalted
1 whole nutmeg
– Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
1. First begin by making the bechamel. Heat the milk in a medium pan over a low milk, with the bay leaf added to infuse. Do not let it boil.
2. In a large pan, melt the butter and add the flour to make a roux, by whisking until it forms a paste. Slowly add the milk, bit by bit, whisking to incorporate, until smooth and lump-free. Make sure you never stop whisking to prevent burning around the edges – you need to reach all corners of the pan.
3. Season and remove the bay leaf. Whisk over a low heat until thickened. This can take anywhere between 5-10 minutes. Finish with a grating of nutmeg.
4. Fry the pancetta in a splash of oil over a medium heat in a large pan, until golden. Add 2 of the rosemary sprigs, finely chopped, and fry for a minute more.
5. Add the chopped onion and garlic – cook until softened and golden.
6. Add both the minces and fry until cooked through.
7. Add the tin tomatoes, beef stock, butternut squash and sweet potato. Make sure the squash and potato are covered by the juices so they can cook well. Leave covered for 30 minutes on a low-med heat, until the squash and potato are cooked through.
8. Now to assemble the lasagne. Choose a deep earthenware dish, or something round and deep enough to hold a good amount of lasagne. Grease the bottom and sides of the dish with a little bit of olive oil.
9. Add a layer of lasagne sheets on the bottom of the dish, letting them drape over the sides.
10. Add a layer of meat – then a layer of bechamel – and a grating of parmesan. Repeat this, finishing with a layer of pasta, meat and bechamel.
11. Scatter over the cherry tomatoes, halved; a sprinkling of the last rosemary sprig, chopped; a tear of the mozzarella ball, and an extra sprinkling of grated parmesan.
10. Bake in an oven for 30 minutes, until golden.
Buon Appetito! You’re going to be seeing a lot more Italian recipes soon, as I’m hoping to experiment with many Italian classics whilst still keeping to traditions. Salute!