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Artichoke Leek Lasagna

A Fields of Greens recipe: Annie Somerville

TOMATO SAUCE:
1 TBL extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium-size yellow onion
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp dried thyme
6 garlic cloves finely chopped
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 1/2 punds fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and pureed, about 4 cups OR 2 16 oz cans   
       tomatoes with juice pureed
1 bay leaf

Heat the olive oil in a medium size saucepan. Add the onion, 1/2 tsp salt, a few pinches of pepper and the dried herbs. Saute the onion over medium heat until soft, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 more minute, add the wine and cook 1 or 2 minutes, until the pan is nearly dry. Add the tomatoes, 1/4 tsp salt and the bay leaf. Simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

THE VEGETABLES: 
2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
2 large leeks (I use 5-6 small or 3-4 medium) white parts only, sliced in half lengthwise, thinly sliced and washed. About 4 cups
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
4 medium sized artichokes, trimmed and sliced about 4 cups *as it is difficult to get fresh artichoke here I use canned*
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
1/2 tbl fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 tbl chopped fresh herbs: marjoram, thyme and parsley

Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet and add the leeks. Saute over medium heat with 1/2 tsp salt, a few pinches of pepper and the dried thyme until the leeks are wilted, about 3 minutes.Drain the artichokes and add to the leeks along with the garlic. Cover the pan and steam until tender, about 7-8 minutes. Add the lemon juice and deglaze the pan with the wine. Toss the herbs together and reserve 1 tbl to sprinkle on top after baking: stir the rest into the filling. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

RICOTTA CUSTARD:
1 pound Ricotta cheese, about 2 cups
2 eggs, beaten
1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated about 1/3 cup
3 pinches freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Place the Ricoota in mixing bowl and stir in eggs.; add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.

HERB BECHAMEL:
2 1/2 cups milk
2 tbl unsalted butter
3 tbl unbleached white flour
Several fresh herb sprigs bundled together: parsley, sage, thyme and marjoram
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Heat the milk in saucepan. Melt the butter in a seperate pan, add the flour and cook the roux over low heat 2-3 minutes. When the milk is scaled, pour it into the roux a little at a time, whisking continuously. Add the bundled herbs, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat 10 minutes. Remove herbs just before assmbling the lasagna.

ASSEMBLING THE LASAGNA:
3 oz Parmesan cheese
3 oz Provolone cheese
1 lb fresh pasta sheets
Ricoota Custard
Herb Bechamel

Set aside 1/3 cup Parmesan chees to sprinkle on top during baking and toss the rest of the
      cheeses together.
When you're ready to assemble to lasagne, preheat the oven to 350 degree F. In the    bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan, spread 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce and cover it with a layer of lasagne. Pour another 1 1/2 cup tomato sauce folloed by the vegetables. Sprinkle with half the mixed cheeses, then lay down another layer of pasta. Spread the Ricoota custard evenly over the pasta, cover with another layer of pasta. Top with the Bechemel.

Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle on the remaining Parmesan cheese and bake uncovered until the Bechamel has set, 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with reserved fresh herbs.

Serves 6-8

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