Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Last Night's Dinner # 46: Baked Lasagna with Asparagus and Pesto

Tired of the same old lasagna? Give this one a try. I love how each serving is assembled separately.

Baked Lasagna with Asparagus and Pesto
Recipes from Simple Italian Food

You'll need:

1 1/2 pound medium Asparagus spears
1 recipe basic pasta dough rolled to thinnest setting on pasta machine OR store-bought fresh pasta
2 cups Balsamella (recipe below)
1 cup Pesto Sauce (recipe below)
1 cup grated pecorino sardo cheese
1/2 cup Bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

step 1. Bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil and add about 2 tablespoons salt. Prepare a bowl of ice water.

step 2. Trim the asparagus and boil 1 minute. Use tongs to remove the asparagus from the hot water, reserving the cooking water, and refresh in the ice bath. Use tongs to transfer the asparagus to a colander, drain well, and cut each spear in half crosswise. Set aside.

Cut the pasta into 20 5-inch squares and drop into the same boiling water as used for the asparagus. Cook 1 minute, until tender. Drain well ad refresh in the ice bath. Drain on towels and set aside.

step 3. In a mixing bowl, stir the balsamella, pesto, and grated cheese together until mixed well. Butter four 6-inch oval gratin dishes and place 1 piece of pasta at the bottom of each. Top each piece of pasta with 3 pieces of asparagus and 2 tablespoons of pesto, followed by another piece of pasta. Continue with this layering until you have 4 pieces of pasta and 4 layers of asparagus pesto mixture. Lay one more piece of pasta on top, followed by a spoonful of pesto mixture and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Place the dishes on a baking sheet and back for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbling and golden brown. Serve immediately

3 Tablespoon pine nuts
2 Cups basil leaves, preferably picolo fino
1 Clove Garlic
Pinch Salt
1/2 Cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
3 Tablespoon grated pecorino cheese
1 1/4 Cups extra virgin olive oil

In a food processor, place pine nuts, basil, garlic, and sea salt and process to paste. Add the cheeses and drizzle in the olive oil. Store in a jar, topped with oil.

5 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 Cup Flour
3 Cups Milk
2 Teaspoons Salt
1/2 Teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Instructions: In a medium saucepan, heat the butter until melted.
Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Cook over medium heat until light golden brown, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan heat the milk until just about to boil. Add the milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth, and bring to a boil. Cook 30 seconds longer and remove from the heat. Season with salt and nutmeg. Makes 2 cups.


kathy said...

I need to come over for dinner. Reading your blog makes me so hungry. Since I live alone, I usually have an empty fridge, with the exception of lunch leftovers at times. :-\


hey Kath - maybe I should start a "meal for 1" weekly subscription, where you get 5 cold/frozen meals that you can heat up on a nightly basis =)