Spring Lasagna

This recipe from Julia Reed was in the Wall Street Journal got us thinking about more ways to play with veggies, pasta and sauces.

Spring Lasagna Spring Lasagna

Total Time: 2 hours Serves: 8


2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more


¾ pounds lasagna noodles

5 tablespoons butter

6 spring onions, thinly sliced

3 leeks, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

1½ cups frozen green peas

1½ cups asparagus, cut on the diagonal into ½-inch pieces

2¼ cups ricotta cheese, strained

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 tablespoon chopped chives

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 tablespoon chopped chervil

2 cups whole milk

¼ cup chopped white onion

2 bay leaves

¼ teaspoon white pepper

¼ cup all-purpose flour

2 pinches cayenne pepper

1 pound mozzarella, thinly sliced

1/3 cup grated fontina

1/3 cup grated pecorino

1/3 cup grated Parmesan

What To Do

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Add 1 tablespoon oil to a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles according to directions on box, until barely al dente. Drain. Toss with oil to prevent sticking.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil with 1 tablespoon butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions, leeks and garlic and sauté until soft, 5-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Cook peas in a pot of boiling salted water until tender, 1 minute. Drain and set aside. Cook asparagus in a pot of boiling salted water until just tender, 2-3 minutes. Drain asparagus, shock in ice water, drain again and toss with peas.

4. Mix ricotta, zest and herbs. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Make béchamel: Combine milk, onions, bay leaves, ½ teaspoon salt and white pepper in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over low-medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reduces by approximately a quarter, about 10 minutes. Strain milk and set aside. Wipe saucepan and melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Sprinkle in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until roux is bubbling, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low, whisk in reserved milk and cook, stirring often, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and add cayenne.

6. Assemble lasagna: Spread 1½ cups béchamel across bottom of a 3-quart casserole. Top with a layer of noodles, then ¾ cup ricotta mixture, 1/3 onion-leek mixture and 1/3 asparagus-pea mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat process two more times. Cover last asparagus-pea layer with mozzarella. Mix fontina, pecorino and Parmesan and sprinkle over mozzarella. Drizzle remaining béchamel over top.

7. Bake until cheese melts and top browns, about 45 minutes. Let lasagna rest 20-30 minutes before slicing.

Almond Polenta Cake

This recipe from Julia Reed was in the Wall Street Journal. I have friends who have a problem with gluten and I thought this would be a fun desert to play with.

Almond Polenta CakeAlmond Polenta Cake

Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes Serves: 12


For the candied oranges:

10 clementines, mandarin oranges, tangerines or tangelos

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

For the cake:

1 pound butter, plus more for greasing pan

Flour, for dusting pan

2 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar

4 cups almond meal or finely ground blanched almonds

2 teaspoons vanilla

6 eggs

Zest of 4 lemons, plus juice of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 orange, plus juice of 1 orange

½ cup corn flour

½ cup cornmeal

1½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

Coconut ice cream

Fresh mint sprigs

What To Do

1. Make candied oranges: Peel citrus and separate into segments, removing as much pith as possible. Bring sugar and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, add segments and simmer for about 5 minutes. Strain mixture over a bowl and return liquid to pan. Set pan over medium-high heat and cook until syrup is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 6-8 minutes. Allow to cool completely and gently stir in citrus segments.

2. Make cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until pale and light, 1-2 minutes. Add almond meal and vanilla and mix well. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Fold in zests and juices, corn flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.

3. Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake until set and deep golden brown on top, 40 minutes.

4. Serve each slice of cake with a scoop of ice cream, about ¼ cup of candied citrus and a sprig of mint.




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