Monday, March 24, 2008

Lasagna Primavera

I love when I get my cooking magazines in the mail. I can't wait to sit down and browse through them and think of all of the yummy things that I want to make. There are many times that I mark several recipes but never make them. When I received this months copy of Everyday Food, I knew that I needed to make this lasagna. The only question was how I would pass it off to my kids and particularly my husband. As before mentioned, my husband does not eat anything green or that grows in the ground so how does one pass off a dish that contains a healthy dose of the two? By covering it with a bechamel sauce and lots and lots of cheese!

My kids actually loved the dish and ate a good size plate of it. My son even had seconds or maybe even thirds. My husband lovingly ate it without complaining although I did see a pile of the carrots on his plate that he had picked out. It was nice to have a meal that I could eat for a change and it was delicious. I served the lasagna with the Garlic Knots that I also found in the Everyday Food magazine. It was all so good that I hope to be making it again soon.

I did make a few changes to the recipes, but they are printed here as they appear in the magazine. I made the bechamel sauce for the lasagna with 1% milk rather than whole milk but I did add about 2 oz. of regular cream cheese to replace the creaminess lost by the 1% milk. I also replaced one layer of mozzarella with havarti cheese as I had some in my fridge that I needed to use up. I reduced the spinach to only 1 package since I knew that the green stuff was going to be a battle with the family. I am glad that I did though because there was a lot with only one package and I can't imagine the amount if I had used both. With the garlic knots, I replaced half the oil with butter because I prefer the taste of butter to oil. I also topped the knots with some sea salt and some fresh grated parmesan cheese before baking. They were a big hit and were gone before they could even cool off completely.

Lasagna Primavera
(From Everyday Food magazine)

Serves 8.

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for foil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups whole milk
2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas
1/2 pound carrots (4 to 5), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta (about 2 cups)
1 large egg
1 package (9 ounces) no-boil lasagna noodles (12 to 16 noodles)
1 pound part-skim mozzarella, shredded
1 cup grated Parmesan

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium; add flour and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes (do not let flour mixture darken); whisk in milk. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add spinach, peas, and carrots; season with salt and pepper. Set sauce aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and teaspoon pepper.
In the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, spread a thin layer of vegetable sauce. Layer noodles, half the remaining vegetable sauce, another noodles, half the ricotta mixture, half the mozzarella, and half the Parmesan; repeat.

3. Cover dish with lightly oiled aluminum foil, and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake 45 minutes, uncover, and bake until bubbling and browned, about 20 minutes more. Let cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Garlic Knots

All-purpose flour, for shaping dough
1 pound pizza dough, thawed if frozen
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to a 16-by-10-inch rectangle; with a knife or pizza cutter, cut crosswise into 16 strips. Tie each strip into a knot, and place on a large rimmed baking sheet.
Brush knots with 1 tablespoon oil. Bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes; transfer to a large bowl.

2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat garlic and remaining 3 tablespoons oil over medium until garlic is fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour garlic oil over bread knots in bowl; season with salt and pepper, and toss.

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