Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Vegetable Lasagna with Fontina and Parmesan Sauce

I mentioned in a previous post how I have begun taking cooking classes at a local cooking studio. This lasagna was one of the recipes we made during that course. It was, in my opinion, the best dish we made that day. To me it was perfect- a nice balance of healthy (veggies) and savory (cheese, cheese, and more cheese). I knew I would make this for Christmas and couldn't wait. It was a huge hit. I was nervous because my family likes traditional foods and this was definitely not traditional. However, it perfectly complimented the turkey and was well received. Even my father who was less than enthusiastic at the prospect loved it. Best of all it can be make up to two days ahead! I really love this recipe and can see it being a staple for family celebrations.

While you may be tempted to substitute the fontina cheese for mozzarella, don't. It really is a huge part of what makes this so amazing. It is mild and subtle yet pronounced enough to give this a creamy, rich flavor. Also, I used shaved parmesan cheese (found right by the cheese section) and though it worked perfect. I wouldn't use the grated, powdery parmesan (think Kraft) because you want the cheese to flavor the sauce. Yum!

Source: Diana Albanese (my cooking instructor)

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 pound of zucchini, washed, stems removed, sliced into thin half moons
Two 10oz boxes of chopped spinach, squeezed dry
1 box thawed artichoke hearts, sliced thin lengthwise
Salt and pepper
15 Ronzoni oven ready lasagna noodles
1 recipe for Parmesan sauce (recipe below)
1/2 pound Italian fontina cheese, grated (about 2.5 cups)
3/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1- To make the filling, heat 3 tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan and add zucchini until tender. Add spinach and artichokes. Cook until liquid has evaporated.

2- Preheat oven to 425.

3- Boil 2 quarts of water and place in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Add noodles and soak until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain and wipe dry, smear butter on the bottom.

4- To assemble the lasagna, spread 4 tablespoons of parmesan sauce on the bottom of the dish. Top with 3 lays of noodles, then 2/3 cup of parmesan sauce, 1 cup of vegetable mixture, 1/2 cup of fontina cheese, and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Repeat three times, ending with a final layer of noodles, white sauce, and cheese. Cover with foil.

5- Bake for 30 minutes. Turn oven to broil. Remove foil and cook until golden. Remove and cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Parmesan Cheese sauce

2.5 cups milk (any kind, I used 1%)
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
5 cloves of garlic, smashed
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
5 tbsp. flour
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and black pepper

Combine the milk, broth, and garlic in a measuring cup. Heat in the microwave until hot.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until well blended. Pour in hot milk mixture gently and whisk. Continue adding milk and whisking. Bring to a boil. Season to taste. Cool slightly- stir in the cheese.

1 comment:

  1. Mmm...this looks yummy! I was searching for a good white vegetarian lasagna recipe and found yours....I will be trying this tonight! Thanks so much for posting this...