Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Spinach & Artichoke Lasagna
Spring is upon us, and I'm starting to see signs of life in the marsh behind our house. Deer prance through daily, multiple times some days, stopping casually in their tracks to poke their noses through the reeds in search of food. The ducks and geese are back. They use the tip of our roof as their landing point. At times, it sounds like a war zone up there.
The birds are chirping in the morning, and our birdfeeder has been one busy restaurant lately. I love spring. And so does this one:
Nature is her TV. She sits in her "spot" all day, intently gazing out to make sure all her friends in the marsh are alive and well, doing their thing. She'll even sneak in a nap here and there.
Minnesota hasn't decided if it's spring yet. We're supposed to get more snow tomorrow. And we haven't seen temps above 30 in a week. Argh. I choose not to pay attention. It's spring, darn it! And that means it's time to start cooking like it's spring.
This lasagna is a take on the original, but it's a "white" version. Like last night's dish, the ingredients and sauces are a little lighter than the traditional. It's the perfect way to start spring. Not only that, but lasagna is my husband's absolute favorite food.
Our cast of characters here are spinach, marinated artichokes, onions, bechamel sauce, and mozzarella. Tasty, tasty. And such a nice change from the traditional (which I do love, by the way).
I split this recipe into four parts. Don't be afraid by that - it's just easier to execute and plan this way.
This was so enjoyable! Bring on the spring!
Spinach & Artichoke Lasagna
Recipe by A Toast to Taste
Photos by A Toast to Taste
For the Bechamel
3 cups milk (I used skim)
6 Tbsp butter
6 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp nutmeg
salt to taste
For the Spinach Artichoke Mix
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium white onion, diced
12 oz marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
1 lb raw spinach (I always use organic)
2 cloved garlic, finely chopped
12 lasagna noodles
3 cups mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking dish.
First, make the bechamel. In a small sauce pan, heat milk over medium heat just until steam rises. Do not boil. Remove from heat. While warming the milk, melt the butter in a separate sauce pan. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly, pour in the milk, whisking constantly until sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Second, cook the noodles according to directions on box. Set aside.
Third, make spinach mixture. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and artichokes. Cook about 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add garlic, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add in spinach. Cook until wilted. Remove from heat.
Fourth, assemble the dish. Start by spreading about 1/4 cup of the bechamel on the bottom of the pan. Cover with lasagna noodles, followed by the spinach mixture, then the bechamel, then the mozzarella. Repeat two more times. Cover dish with tinfoil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes or until golden and bubbly.