Having time off for Winter Break is appreciated by us all. But Sally Porkchop seems to really be digging us being home with her day after day and the endless exhaustion of long walks.
|Sally Porkchop after a good long walk in the neighborhood.|
Another benefit of time off is time to actually make a recipe or two from a few of our numerous food magazine subscriptions.
Pasta is not something that we make a ton of, especially the labor intensive lasagna. But we both saw this recipe for white lasagna in the December Food & Wine issue and agreed this needed to be made. It was perfect. We were finally over the Christmas hooplah and leftovers and G had just gotten in his first day skiing. So a heavy, good for cold weather meal was a good call.
The recipe is a fair bit tedious but buying fresh pasta as opposed to making it helped shave a bit of time off preparation.
The bechamel sauce was amazing, really, truly amazing.
And really once it's made it all comes together pretty quick. Just layers of bechamel, pasta, cheese and repeat 4 times.
We decided to only make half the recipe and we have more leftover than we'll ever eat still.
The recipe lists three "great toppings" for the lasagna. We only made two, the salsa verde and the roasted wild mushrooms. Since the lasagna is so incredibly rich the topping really do help. The salsa verde especially brings a fresher green taste to help cut the richness.
It was definitely a recipe we are happy we made but this kind of pasta richness will never be part of our regular recipe rotation.
Creamy White Lasagna (adapted from Food & Wine)
1 #Fresh Pasta
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 rosemary sprigs
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 quarts whole milk
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 pound imported Fontina cheese, shredded (2 1/2 cups)
- 5 ounces Grana Padano cheese, freshly grated (1 1/4 cups)
- Make the fresh pasta according to package directions and then MAKE THE BACHAMEL In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion, rosemary, thyme, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the roux is light golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and bring to a boil, then simmer over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until no floury taste remains, about 20 minutes. Press the béchamel through a fine sieve into a bowl; discard the solids. Season with salt and let cool.
- ASSEMBLE THE LASAGNA Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces; work with 1 piece at a time, keeping the rest covered with a towel. Flatten the dough slightly. Run it through a pasta machine a total of 6 times: Start at the widest setting, then run through successively narrower settings. Dust the sheet with flour and lay it on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, separating the sheets with parchment.
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta sheets until just al dente, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and cool under running water, then drain again. Return the pasta to the baking sheet and toss with olive oil to prevent the sheets from sticking together.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Brush a deep 9-by-13-inch baking dish with oil; spread with 1/2 cup of the béchamel. Arrange a layer of pasta over the béchamel, trimming to fit. Spread one-fifth of the remaining béchamel over the pasta; sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the Fontina and 1/4 cup of the Grana Padano. Repeat the layering 4 more times, ending with the cheeses.
- Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 45 minutes, until bubbling. Remove from the oven and uncover. Preheat the broiler. Broil the lasagna 6 inches from the heat until lightly browned on top, 2 to 4 minutes. Let rest for 15 minutes, then cut into squares and serve with one of the toppings.