food.pairing: Koko Brown
Beer: Koko Brown (5.5%)
Brewery: Kona Brewing Company
Style: American Brown
Serving: Pint Glass 40°- 45°
General Beer Description: American Brown Ales are different from their English counterparts in that they use American ingredients and brewing practices, which in return produce more assertive flavors. American Brown ales can have a wide range of bitterness but generally they have a noticeable but balanced bitterness that is accentuated by a clean fermentation (none to low fruity flavors) and an elevated carbonation. American Brown Ales can also have a pronounced nutty, toasty, caramel and/or chocolate flavor.
General Food Pairing Suggestions: Cuisine: Barbecue. Cheese: Earthy or Nutty. Meat: beef. Dessert: Chocolate.
Specific Food Pairing Suggestion: Butternut Squash, goat cheese, sage lasagna
This is another great recipe I found in Fine Cooking Magazine for that butternut squash that has been waiting patiently on your countertop. Koko Brown is a unique pairing for this dish because brown ales are usually paired with meat or desert dishes to accentuate toasty or chocolaty flavors. But those toasty and sweet flavors can also be found in this lasagna and that is why this beer pairs so well with this dish.
The sweetness of the butternut squash resonates with the sweet malt and coconut flavors. The toasted coconut (a unique beer ingredient to say the least) used in this beer complements the sweet roasted squash flavors and blends with the butternut squash sweetness to create a brand new flavor combination that is magical.
The “American” part (hops and carbonation) of this brown ale does its part to keep this dish from becoming too sweet or too savory. The hop bitterness counteracts the sweetness while the carbonation helps to cleanse the palate. If either of these two aspects were subtler then the pairing would be too sweet.
Variations: I didn’t make the fresh pasta (that is just ridiculous;-) but I did use the thin style lasagna noodles. Also, I didn’t boil the noodles first, there is plenty of sauce to cover the whole dish and bake it until the noodles become soft. You may want to cover the dish with foil for the first 30-45 minutes but then take the foil off for the last 15 minutes to brown the cheese and re-toast the breadcrumbs on top.
I know this recipe isn’t light by any standards but you may want to try combine this similar lighter recipe from CookingLight.com. It had a number of substitutions, some I thought would be outstanding from a taste point of view as well as aesthetically. I would suggest that if you do combine the recipes you blend the squash instead of leaving it cubed as that enables you to make many thin layers of noodles and sauce.
If you make any lighter variations please share your experiences below in the comments.