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THE VEGETARIAN

A Holiday Entree With Hearty Flavor

November 19, 1989|DIANA SHAW

Here is a holiday dinner meant to revive spirits languishing for want of butter and bechamel. You can make the pumpkin filling up to three days ahead and store it, tightly covered, in the refrigerator.

PUMPKIN PASTA ROLLS

16 ounces lasagna, semolina or whole wheat noodles

2 tablespoons butter

Pumpkin Filling

Bechamel Sauce

Drop noodles into large pot of boiling water. Cook until tender, but not done all way through. (Noodles must be tender enough to roll up like coil.) Drain and rinse with cold water until cool enough to handle.

Cut butter into small pieces and distribute over bottom of deep baking dish, approximately 9-inch square.

Place 1 lasagna noodle vertically on work surface. Spoon about 3 tablespoons Pumpkin Filling in center and spread length of noodle, leaving 1-inch margin at each end. Roll noodle to encase pumpkin in spiral. Place pasta roll in prepared baking dish. Repeat until all noodles are used.

Pour 1/2 Bechamel Sauce evenly over pasta. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees 30 minutes.

Remove foil, cover with remaining Bechamel Sauce and serve while still hot. Makes 6 servings.

Bechamel Sauce

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

2 cups scalded milk

Dash salt

Dash white pepper

Dash ground nutmeg

Melt butter in wide saucepan. Whisk in flour until mixture is bubbly and turns rich gold, taking care not to brown. Whisking constantly, add 1 1/2 cups of milk.

As sauce comes to gentle simmer, switch from whisk to wooden spoon and stir, reaching into edges of pan. Stir in remaining milk little at time, until sauce has thickened to coat spoon. Remove from heat and stir in salt, white pepper and nutmeg.

Keep warm over low simmering water in double boiler until ready to add to pasta. Makes about 2 cups.

Pumpkin Filling

2 tablespoons butter

2 shallots, minced

1 teaspoon dried sage, crumbled

1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 2/3 cups pumpkin puree

Dash ground cinnamon

Melt butter in small skillet. Add shallots and saute until tender and translucent. Stir in sage, remove from heat and transfer to medium mixing bowl.

Using wooden spoon, stir in ricotta until blended with shallots. Add Parmesan and stir well to blend.

Add pumpkin puree and cinnamon. Continue to stir until mixture is uniform light orange color.

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