Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Iron Chef Pembroke Pines: May 2011 - Spinach, Artichoke, and Ricotta Lasagna

I was very unhappy with my Iron Chef entries last month...and that was a first for me. I don't think I had ever cooked anything truly bad before. Maybe unique...but not bad. And the sad thing was that it was a REMARKABLE secret ingredient...lemon was soooo good. And everyone's food was delicious, and amazing...and mine...


...mine sucked.

Anyway, I swore that this month I wouldn't make the same mistake and would stick to something that I am experienced at making and KNOW...without a shadow of a doubt...is GOOD. No new recipes...just a tried-and-true family favorite. Maybe something like "Quick Italian Spinach Pie" or "Florentine Soup".

But then I saw this ad in my Sunday coupon insert from Sorrento cheese...it was an add to download their FREE lasagna cookbook, titled For the Love of Lasagna. There was a picture of a BEAUTIFUL slice of Spinach Lasagna...

And I just HAD to have the cookbook (if you are unaware about my cookbook needs, see this post.)...because I HAD to make that lasagna.

So I went on the website, www.greatcheese.com/lasagna ,  and downloaded my free copy. All you needed was the code, which is LOVE1. 

It's an appropriate password...because that's just what I did...fell in LOVE. 

I've never seen such gorgeous and unique lasagna creations!! There is the recipe I made for Iron chef...but oh so many more...recipes with names like: "Pumpkin and Spinach Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce", "Eggplant Ricotta Lasagna with Arrabiata Sauce", "Portobella and Pancetta with Parmesan Lasagna", and "Chicken, Roasted Fennel, and Cauliflower Lasagna".

And then there are OTHER pastas...like "Gnocchi with Italian Sausage,Mozzarella, and Rappini", or "Linguine with Herbed Ricotta and Eggplant".

And finally...ohhhh finally...there are desserts..."Chocolate Pistachio Cannoli Lasagna" and "Strawberry Grand Marnier® Lasagna".

And the pictures are gorgeous. And it's an e-booklet...so no cluttering your already burgeoning bookshelves!! So I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend you download this cookbook.

And then make THIS lasagna FIRST...it's what I made for our Spinach-themed Iron Chef...

...and it completely redeemed me by winning 1st place in taste!!


Spinach, Artichoke, and Ricotta Lasagna
  • 8 oz. Sorrento® mozzarella, shredded
  • 15 oz. container Sorrento® ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups onions, G-inch dice
  • 10 oz. package frozen chopped
  • spinach, thawed, and squeezed dry
  • 4 cups béchamel sauce (see pg. 39)
  • 12 sheets no boil lasagna noodles
  • 3 cups artichoke hearts in brine,quartered
  • 3 oz. Parmesan, shredded, about 1 cups

Preheat oven to 400˚ F.

1. Mix ricotta and egg in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Sauté the onions in the oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and season with salt and pepper.

3. Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1-1/2 cups béchamel on bottom of pan and top with 4 sheets lasagna noodles.

4. Layer with 1/2 of the ricotta, 1/2 of the spinach mixture, 1/2 of the artichokes, 1 cup béchamel, 1/2 of the mozzarella, and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan.

5. Continue layering with 4 more noodles, the rest of the ricotta, spinach mixture, artichokes, mozzarella, 1 cup of béchamel, and 1/2 cup more of Parmesan.

6. Finish with the last layer of noodles, 1 cup of béchamel, and ½ cup of Parmesan.

7. Cover with parchment and then aluminum foil. Bake for 40 minutes until slightly bubbling. Remove foil and parchment and continue to bake until top is browned, about 10 minutes more. Cool 10 minutes before serving to allow lasagna to set up.

Optional: Serve each slice atop a generous spoonful of basic tomato sauce.

Béchamel Sauce

  • 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 shallots or 1 medium yellow
  • onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • G cup all purpose flour
  • 3H cups whole milk
  • I tsp. nutmeg, grated

1. Melt butter until foaming in medium saucepan on medium.

2. Add shallots or onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent,
about 4 minutes.

3. Stir in flour and cook for about 2 minutes making sure not to brown.

4. Whisk in milk slowly and bring mixture to boil. Stir in nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, whisking occasionally.

courtesy Sorrento and Shannan Johnson

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