This contest asked to create one or two original recipes, inspired by the Italian gastronomic tradition, but using POD Swiss cheeses.
So, thinking about a dish that fully represents the Italian tradition, but at the same time very customizable, I immediately thought about lasagne (we all love the classic Bolognese lasagne, but I often twist them – take a look at my pesto, potatoes and green beans lasagne or curly hard wheat lasagne with eggplant sauce and smoked scamorza). So, thinking about a sauce that would harmonize well with the two Swiss cheeses I chose, Gruyère POD and Sbrinz POD, I chose a zucchini cream with a béchamel adding.
The result was a white and green lasagna, in which zucchini, béchamel and cheeses were married to perfection, creating a delicate and yet tasty dish.
Surely these lasagne are different from the usual (in fact you could call them doubly Swiss – for the origin of the cheeses I used, and because I’ve always heard the term “Swiss” as a synonym for “weird, wacky,”…who knows why?!), in which the Italian tradition is contaminated, creating a new and delicious dish.
- FOR FRESH PASTA
- 150 g 00 flour
- 150 g hard wheat semolina
- 3 eggs
- FOR THE BÉCHAMEL SAUCE
- 40 g flour
- 40 g unsalted butter
- 500 ml milk
- FOR THE ZUCCHINI SAUCE
- Extra-virgin olive oil or unsalted butter
- 1-2 garlic clove
- 1 kg zucchini
- TO GARNISH
- 200 g Le Gruyère DOP
- 100 g Sbrinz DOP
- Mix 150 g 00 flour and 150 g hard wheat semolina with 3 eggs and a pinch of salt and knead until you have a ball of dough. Leave it to rest for at least half an hour (under an upside-down bowl, so that the dough does not dry out) [I mixed 500 g of flour with 5 eggs, but I also made at least 250 g of tagliatelle, so 300 g of flour should be more than enough].
- Meanwhile, prepare the zucchini cream and the béchamel sauce.
- Wash and clean the zucchini and cut them into thin slices. In a large skillet heat a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil (or a knob of unsalted butter), sauté the garlic for a few minutes and then add the zucchini slices and season with salt. Let the zucchini cook, gradually adding milk, until the zucchini will be soft enough to get a cream only by mashing them with the back of a spoon. Mash them until you have a cream in which you can still feel the zucchini texture (but, if you prefer a real zucchini cream, use a blender).
- Prepare the béchamel: in a tick-bottomed saucepan melt 40 g of butter, then add 40 g of flour and stir vigorously with a whisk. Then gradually add the milk and continue to mix with a whisk; season with salt and nutmeg. Stir occasionally (quite often), making sure that there are no lumps and that the sauce doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat when the sauce is creamy and let it cool.
- Now take dough ball, the pasta machine and roll out the dough until the penultimate notch of the machine (do not skip the intermediate notches), then cut the sheets into the desired shape (rectangles are perfect).
- Put a large pan of water on the fire, add a little olive oil and a some salt; when the water boils, cook your lasagna sheets (2 or 3 at a time) for 3-4 minutes each, drain (with a skimmer or pincers) and let them dry on a clean cloth.
- Finely chop the Gruyère (even with a blender) and grate the Sbrinz.
- Now you have everything you need to compose your lasagna: in a baking pan place a thin layer of zucchini cream and béchamel on the bottom, then place the lasagna sheets to create a layer, than spread zucchini cream and béchamel and finish with plenty of Gruyère and Sbrinz. Proceed for 3 or 4 layers, making sure to end with a layer of zucchini cream / béchamel / cheese (so your lasagne will remain soft and creamy).
- Bake in a 356° F (180° C) pre-heated oven for 30 to 40 minutes (I cooked for 30 minutes and than I used the oven grill for the last 10 minutes, to brown my lasagne).
- Serve piping hot.