May 28, 2010

No Bake Lasagna

So this recipe seemed like a great idea. And ultimately, it was. It was fresh and tasty. But stacking the slippery noodles with tomatoes and zucchini sautéed in EVOO just seconds ago was not an easy task. When you can get the ingredients to stack, it makes a great presentation. And tastes even better.

No Bake Lasagna
adapted from Everyday Food Magazine, June 2010

1/2 c ricotta
3 T grated Parmesan
3 T plus 2 t extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
8 lasagna noodles, broken in half crosswise
1 clove garlic
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
2 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 T plus more for garnish fresh basil, torn

In a small bowl combine ricotta, Parmesan and two teaspoons EVOO. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil and cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until slightly broken down, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add remaining one tablespoon of oil and zucchini to the skillet. Cook, stirring until zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to another bowl and stir in the basil.

Place some tomatoes on four plates. Top with a noodle and small spoonfuls of ricotta. Top with zucchini and then more tomatoes. Repeat layering twice and top with remaining noodles, tomatoes. Garnish with basil.

May 14, 2010

Cream of Asparagus

When it's spring, eat asparagus.

Cream of Asparagus
adapted from Everyday Food: Great Food Fast

3 T butter
1 1/2 c coarsely chopped shallots (about 6 large)
1/2 t dried thyme
1 t caraway seeds
3 T all-purpose flour
3 lbs asparagus, trimmed and cut into one inch pieces.
1/3 c heavy cream
2 to 3 T fresh lemon juice
salt (optional vegetable soup base)

If your asparagus is at all tough or stringy, peel a layer off with a vegetable peeler. Learn how to trim and peel asparagus.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. add the shallots and thyme, cook until the shallots are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, stirring constantly until incorporated, about 1 minute.

Add the asparagus and 6 cups of water. season generously with salt or add a vegetable soup base, according to package directions. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer until asparagus is bright green and just tender, 2 to 4 minutes.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until very smooth. Fill blender only half full and cover hole in lid with dish towel so steam can escape. (Or use an immersion blender, which is what I did.)

Want to freeze it? This is when you'd do that. Leave out the cream and lemon juice for now. Cool to room temperature. Freeze for up to two months. Let thaw to room temp. Gently heat and then stir in remaining ingredients.

If you want to eat now, go ahead and stir in the cream, lemon juice and caraway seeds.

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