Lasagna con Carciofi e Formaggio
(Artichoke and Cheese Lasagna)
15 Baby (Sm.) Artichokes - with 2 inch stem if possible 1 LG. Lemon 1 Lg. Shallot - peeled and diced 10 Med. Olives - black Italian 2 Cups Broth made from the artichokes - see below 4 Oz. Cheese - Mozzarella in milk - Fresh - sliced thin 3 Oz. Cheese - Provolone - sliced thin 2 1/2 Cups Béchamel Sauce - click for the recipe 2 Tsp. Truffle Oil 1/2 Cup Parsley - chopped 1/8 Tsp. Nutmeg - freshly ground 1/2 Lb. Lasagna Noodles
The first task is to peel and trim the artichokes. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a glass or stainless steel bowl large enough to hold all of the cleaned artichokes. Add 3 cups of water to the bowl.
Pull the outer leaves from an artichoke, and continue to do so until you have discarded all the dark green leaves and the artichoke is a light yellow color. Trim the stem to about 1 inch and place it in the lemon-water bath. Do this for each artichoke.
Once this is accomplished, cut about 1 inch, or 1/3 from each artichoke tip. Place the bottom third back into the lemon-water bath. When all 15 artichokes have been trimmed, put the cut off tips into a small stainless steel pan, add 3 cups of water, a 1/4 Tsp of salt and 1/2 of the lemon. Bring to a boil, and let simmer until needed. [See below]. Cut the bottom two thirds of each choke in half lengthwise. Using a paring knife, remove any small choke that may be present, then slice each artichoke vertically into 1/8 inch thick slices. As the artichokes are sliced return them to the bath.
Put a pot of water to boil for the lasagna noodles. Cook these to a very al dente consistency while making the béchamel. Remove them from the water, place in a bowl, sprinkle with olive oil and mix. This will keep them from sticking together until needed.
Make the béchamel sauce as described in the link to the left or in the table above. When this is done, add 3/4 of the sliced artichokes and the chopped parsley to the béchamel sauce, return to the microwave, and cook on high for 1.5 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool and then add the remaining sliced artichokes.
Assembly and Baking
Oil a 5" (width) x 9" (length) x 2.25" (depth) glass loaf pan. Lay 2 noodles at the bottom so that they lay up the (long) sides a bit. Use a third noodle if necessary to cover the bottom of the pan. Spoon enough béchamel-artichoke mix into the pan to cover the bottom to a depth of about 1/2 inch. Add 2-3 slices of mozzarella cheese and 2 slices of provolone to this, then sprinkle about 1/2 tsp of the truffle oil onto this layer. Add another layer of noodles, but this time, lay them 90° to the noodles in the layer below. Place them so that the noodles hang over the long sides of the pan. To accomplish this, lay a noodle in the center of the pan lengthwise, then lay the noodles up the sides so that they overlap a little and hang over the sides. Spoon another third of the mixture over the noodles, then add the cheeses, then more truffle oil.
The next layer of noodles should be laid perpendicular to the second layer, and should be placed so that they hang over the short side of the pan, but cover all of the stuffing below. Add the last batch of stuffing and cheese followed by the remaining truffle oil. (Do not be alarmed if there is extra stuffing. It can be used as a sauce for a pasta at another meal. ) Fold the noodles hanging over the sides onto the top of the lasagna casserole. Once the noodles are all in place, cut then randomly into thick ribbons in 5-6 places. When baked these will curl and brown, thereby making this dish not only delicious to eat, but nice to look as as it is being served. Additionally, the crispy top noodles are good!
Place in an oven pre-heated to 350° and bake for 30 minutes. Increase the heat to 400° and bake for 10 additional minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Last updated on:07/08/99 01:01:51 AM