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    Pumpkin (pan-fried) lasagne with swiss chard, walnuts and Grana Padano

    Group 393


    Group 382

    6 people


    120 min

    Chef Danilo Cortellini

    I am a big fan of any pasta that is baked, for me it always bring back memories of Sunday family lunches when Nonna used to prepare her pasta al forno for us. With that in mind, it goes without saying that I am a big lasagne lover, my wife is in fact from Emilia Romagna so we often have lasagne when we visit the in-laws. Now let me ask you, what’s the best part of a lasagne? Opinions differs but if you ask me, the answer is the crusty parts on the top and corners, with still a bit of cheese and bechamel underneath…delicious!

    You can’t blame me at this stage for wanting to try out the new social media trend of the moment, and that is pan-fried lasagne. It is very simple, take a large slice of cold lasagne and pan-fry it in olive oil and butter until you have a delicious golden crust on both sides. It sounds a bit silly at first but if you think about it, it is also a great way to re-heat leftovers and serve them in a different way (plus you get an incredible ratio of crust-pasta).

    In this occasion, I opted for seasonal pumpkin lasagne with swiss chard, walnut pesto and of course my favourite Grana Padano cheese. Firmer in texture but still soft and delicious. I hope you guys are going to try it because it is so so so worth the work and it makes for a beautiful centrepiece for any special meal.


    • 500 g of pumpkin (approx.)
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 1 sprig of rosemary
    • 3 tbsp of olive oil
    • 500 g of swiss chard, blanched in salted water and cooled
    • Butter to grease
    • Chopped rosemary to sprinkle
    • Grated Grana Padano to sprinkle

    • For the Grana Padano béchamel
    • 1 l of milk (warm, if possible)
    • 70 g of butter
    • 70 g of plain flour
    • 300 g of grated Grana Padano
    • A touch of nutmeg to taste
    • Salt & pepper to taste

    • For the pasta
    • 350 g 00 flour (or all-purpose/plain flour)
    • 150 g semola rimacinata aka durum wheat flour (or all-purpose/plain flour)
    • 2 eggs (about 110 g)
    • 180 g of egg yolk (around 5-6 egg yolks)
    • Extra flour for dusting

    • For the walnut pesto
    • 250 gr of walnuts
    • 50 gr of grated Grana Padano
    • ½ garlic clove
    • 20 ml of extra virgin olive oil
    • A touch of water (or milk) to loosen it up
    • Sat and pepper to taste



    STEP 1

    For the pasta.
    Beat the eggs with a fork and gradually incorporate the flour. When the ingredients start to bind together, knead by hand with energy. Remember, during this step it is important to stretch and pull your dough while kneading to allow the flour’s gluten to start working and therefore obtain and elastic dough. After a few minutes, it will slowly come together and result in a smooth and homogeneous dough. As not all eggs are the same, if your dough feels too sticky, feel free to add a spoon of flour, if too dry and not binding, you can add a touch of leftover egg white or even a splash of water.

    When ready, wrap your dough in clingfilm and leave to rest for about 30 minutes, this will allow the dough to ‘relax’ and not be too elastic when shaping your pasta.

    STEP 2

    Proceed to roll the dough into thin pasta sheets. If you have a wooden board great, if you don’t, a clean surface will work.
    First, slice the pasta into thick sheets and flatten them with a rolling pin. With the help of a pasta machine, roll the pasta out. (This can also be done by hand using a rolling pin and lots of elbow grease!).
    It is good practice to fold your rolled pasta on itself and start over a couple of times, this process will give you a smoother and rectangular sheet that will be easier to work with at a later stage.

    STEP 3

    Pass the pasta gradually from the largest setting to the second to last.
    It is a good habit to allow your pasta sheets to dry for 5 minutes on your board before cutting it into any shape and remember to dust with extra flour only if it feels too wet and humid on your hands.
    I also always re-roll the pasta sheet on the same setting once after the 5 minutes rest to make sure it has not shrunk too much.
    I like my lasagne sheets about 1,5 mm thick.

    STEP 4

    Remember, cut your pasta sheets accordingly to the size and shape of your baking tray to avoid excessive waste and if you are making your lasagne straight away keep your sheets between parchment and you can use them raw. If you are using dry pasta sheet make sure to cook them before hand in salted boiling water, drain them and pat dry before building the lasagne.

    STEP 5

    To prepare the béchamel.
    Melt the butter in a saucepan and add in the flour. Cook for a couple of minutes while stirring, on a medium heat until the roux (mix of butter and flour) is golden. Then slowly pour in the milk and bring to the boil, while whisking vigorously, to avoid any lumps. Boil for 2 minutes and then remove from the heat. The béchamel should be now ready and creamy. Stir in the grated Grana Padano cheese, until smooth. Season carefully with salt (as the cheese will have already made the béchamel tasty) and a little black pepper and grated nutmeg. Set aside.

    STEP 6

    To make the walnut pesto.
    Blitz the walnuts along with the other ingredients in a processor until you have a grainy paste. Season to taste and keep aside. Any leftover is great to dress a simple plate of pasta.

    With the help of a mandoline, slice the pumpkin as thin as you can and dress the slices with a pinch of salt and pepper, the garlic and rosemary. Drizzle with olive oil and let it marinate for 30 minutes.

    STEP 7

    To build the lasagna.
    Either grease your chosen tray well with butter or line it with baking parchment (I spread a little butter to make sure the parchment sticks well).
    Build the lasagna in layers, Pasta goes in first then spread with a couple of spoons of walnut pesto. Now cover with the cooked swiss chard leaves and a handful of grated Grana Padano. Top this with a layer of the seasoned pumpkin slices and with more grated cheese. Finish by covering with a good spread of béchamel and then repeat until you have either reached the top of the tray or finished your ingredients!

    When using fresh raw pasta remember, every other component needs to be seasoned properly as the pasta will absorb not only the liquids but also the flavour.
    In my opinion, the result of this method is a better textured lasagna (and less steps in the recipe).

    When you have reached the top of the lasagna, cover with a pasta layer and brush with melted butter, no sauce. Cover with parchment and make sure it sticks (to prevent to the top from burning and color too much in the oven) and bake at 160 °C for about 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size of your tray.
    When ready it should have risen, check it by piercing it with a wooden skewer in the middle, if the skewer is very hot when removed, it means it is cooked!

    This autumn lasagna can be served as it is, simply let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing it and serve it with a spoonful of hot Grana Padano bechamel.

    If you want to go the extra mile and create the ultimate pan-fried lasagna let it cool completely overnight, then remove it from the tray and slice it into thick slices (like a steak).
    In a non-stick pan, fry the slices on both sides with a good amount of olive oil and butter. It should take no longer than 2 minutes on each side for the lasagna to be golden and crispy outside and hot in the middle, longer than that it will be messy.
    Make sure the lasagna is well chilled before going into the pan and that you keep a constant medium heat, not too aggressive, to pan fry it.

    To serve the pan-fried lasagna, spread a little extra Grana Padano bechamel on the bottom of the plates and place the lasagna on top of it. Sprinkle with extra grated Grana Padano and top with a little chopped rosemary.
    Serve immediately and enjoy your labour of love!

    Chef’s tip

    When the pasta is fresh and just made, I like to use raw pasta sheet directly as they are, in this way they will absorb more of the juices and flavours. Just make sure to keep the Grana Padano béchamel a little bit on the loose side by adding extra milk. If using store bought dry pasta sheets, boil them in salted water as usual before building the lasagne. Any pasta trimming can be re-used in soups or other dishes.