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A bit like a classic lasagne but there’s no béchamel and definitely less fuss altogether. It tastes absolutely amazing too. The recipe is from Mezcla by Ixta Belfrage; a book full of delicious things.

Wine Suggestion: we grabbed the first thing in the fridge which was the Zuani Bianco Riserva, an oaked Collio from North Eastern Italy which is a blend of Friulano, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. Stunning, with so much complexity and layered fruits, savouriness and creamy textures. An under-rated part of the world. If you can’t find something like this, look for a lightly oaked white with a fresh acidity and a nutty finish.

Squash and sage lasagne gratin – serves 4 (generously)

  • half a large butternut squash, peeled and seeds discarded (about 500g)
  • 400g ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2¾ tsp fine salt
  • 5g fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped, plus 10 extra leaves to serve
  • 6 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish
  • 220g double cream, plus extra 2 tbsp to serve
  • 80g Parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve
  • ¾ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 250g-300g dried lasagne sheets
  • 400g chicken stock (you can use veg stock if you prefer)

Heat the oven to 220C fan/240C.

Finely slice the butternut squash into very thin half moons – a mandoline is best for this or you could use the slicing attachment on a food processor.

Mix the squash slices, tomatoes, garlic, tomato purée, fine salt, chopped sage, 4 tbsp olive oil and lots of black pepper, together in a large bowl. Your hands are best to toss it all together.

Mix the cream, Parmesan and nutmeg together in another bowl. Set 80g of this mixture aside for later.

Cover the bottom of a baking dish (approx. 28cm x 23cm) with a layer of lasagne sheets, then a layer of the squash mixture. Spoon over some of the cream mixture, then continue the layering until you have used everything. Pour the stock evenly over everything in th edish, then cover tightly with foil and bake for 50 minutes.

Remove from the oven and remove the foil. Spoon over the reserved 80g of cream mixture and return to the oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Mix 2 tbsp of the oil with the 10 sage leaves in a small bowl. Spoon this over the lasagne and return to the oven for a final 5-6 minutes, or until the sage leaves look crisp and the lasagne golden-brown.

Rest for 10 minutes, then finish with the 2 tbsp of cream, a good drizzle of olive oil and plenty of extra grated Parmesan, sea salt and black pepper.

(Original recipe from Mezcla by Ixta Belfrage, Ebury Press, 2022.)

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We’re super excited by the dishes in Ixta Belfrage’s new book – Mezcla. We’ve done lots of drooling over the recipes but so far have only managed this green salad – it’s a good one!

Green salad with maple, lime & sesame dressing – serves 4

  • 2 baby gem lettuces, cut off the end and separate the leaves.
  • 10g mixed fresh herbs e.g. coriander, mint & basil
  • 2 green chillies, thinly sliced into rounds (optional)
  • 20g scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds (you can use black and white if you have them but white alone is fine), well toasted, then lightly crushed and mixed with flaked sea salt
  • lime wedges, to serve

FOR THE QUICK PICKLED ONIONS:

  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • ¼ tsp fine salt

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 60g olive oil
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • 40g lime juice
  • 20g maple syrup
  • ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 5g chives, finely chopped

Put the ingredients for the pickled shallots into a small bowl and stir together. Leave to pickle for 15 minutes or up to an hour but no longer.

Make the dressing by gently mixing all the ingredients, except the chives, together. You don’t want the dressing to emulsify here so just stir to combine.

When ready to serve, stir the chives into the dressing. Put the lettuce and herbs into a large salad bowl and pour over the dressing. Add the pickled shallots, chillies and scallions and toss. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and serve with extra lime wedges.

(Original recipe from Mezcla by Ixta Belfrage, Ebury Press, 2022.)

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