Friday, March 21, 2014

Not So Typical Lasagna

Good evening everyone!  Growing up, one of my favorite recipes was my mom's lasagna.  The layers of red, meat sauce, cheese, and pasta was the perfect trifecta of deliciousness.  Unfortunately, after having several portions, the pasta had expanded and I was stuffed!  Since I moved on my own, I've always wanted to create a lasagna dish that would be equally as tasty.  But, since Tyler can't handle red sauce that well, it almost seemed like lasagna dreams were out of reach.  Until I found this recipe and needless to say, we were not disappointed.

The Recipe:  Creamy Artichoke & Asparagus Lasagna
Original Recipe Found In:  Cooking Light, April 2014 Issue

What You'll Need:
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Cups thinly sliced Leek (about 2 large)
1 Pound Asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Teaspoons minced Garlic
2 Teaspoons chopped fresh Thyme
7 Ounces frozen Artichokes, thawed and coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups 1% Low-Fat Milk, divided
3 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup organic Vegetable Broth
1/2 Teaspoon kosher Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/8 Teaspoon ground Nutmeg
4 Ounces part-skim shredded Mozzarella Cheese (about 1 cup)
2 Ounces grated Parmesan Cheese (about 1/2 cup)
6 no-boil Lasagna noodles

To start, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add oil to the pan and swirl once the oil has heated.  Add the leek and cook for three minutes, or just until softened and stirring occasionally.  Next, add the asparagus and cook for an additional three minutes, just until the asparagus begins to turn a bright green.  Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about one minute.  Add the artichokes, stir to combine, and remove from heat.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup milk and flour and stir until smooth with a whisk.  Stir in the remaining one cup of milk and broth.  Put the saucepan on the stovetop and heat over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently to prevent the milk from overheating and the flour to stick on the bottom of the saucepan.  Simmer the milk mixture for one minute or until just thickened. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and remove the saucepan from the heat.  Add the cheeses in a small bowl and toss to combine.

Next, preheat an oven to 375 degrees and begin to construct the lasagna.  In an 8x8 inch glass baking dish, spray the bottom with cooking spray and coat with a 1/2 cup of the milk mixture.  On top of the milk mixture, add two lasagna noodles.

On top of the lasagna noodles, top with one-third of the vegetable mixture and spread to evenly coat.

On top of the vegetable mixture, spoon one third of the remaining milk mixture and one-third of the cheese mixture.

Repeat the lasagna noodle, vegetable mixture, milk mixture, and cheese mixture twice, ending with cheese.  Place the baking dish in the oven and cook for 30 minutes, until the lasagna has heated through and  cheese is melted and has just begun to brown.  Once cooked, let stand for five minutes, serve, and enjoy!

The End Result:

In a word, this lasagna was heavenly.  The asparagus, leek, and artichokes added a real heartiness to this dish that can definitely be a stand in for any sort of meat.  The milk/flour sauce wasn't too heavy and was a good binder for the noodles and vegetables.  There was enough cheese in this dish to satisfy this cheese fanatic.  Overall, it was a great tasting dish - not to mention 276 calories per serving!  It's the perfect alternative for any traditional lasagna!

Thanks for joining us this week.  Check back on Sunday as Tyler presents another Sunday Special recipe.  Until then,


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