Wednesday, November 30, 2011

More Imitations of Italy

Although it's been over a month since I returned, I am still working on trying to recplicate some of the dishes I had in Italy.  For such simple, homemade cuisine, some of it was rather complicated.  For example, my attempt to do the egg-stuffed turkey rolls was not going to make it onto this blog (unless I felt brave enough to post it in the "Flops" category).

One thing I felt pretty sure I could do though was the lasagne dish.  It didn't seem to require any complex techniques and contained basic ingredients: white sauce, zucchini, mozzarella, and noodles.  That seemed easy enough.

I did my best to put a little of my own spin on it.  I added mushrooms along with the zucchini and sauteed them with garlic.  I fried the zucchini in olive oil first before adding it to the lasagne as well.  I like that it added more flavor.  Besides, the extra olive oil it brought to the dish was very much like the olive-oil-soaked dishes we ate on the farm.  The garlic is also my own spin.  I know Italians don't use nearly as much garlic in their cooking as Americans think they do, but as an American, I need my Italian food to be splashed liberally with garlic.

Certainly you could just slice the veggies into the dish raw, but cooking them really does add something to the dish.  I suppose if you're health conscious, you could try spritzing them with olive oil and roasting them instead of frying. 

The recipe is easy, but it is a bit time-consuming as there are several components.  The results are well worth it though.  This is a very tasty dish!

Lasagne Bianchi con Zucchini e Funghi

For Veggie Layer
  • Copious amounts of olive oil for frying
  • Salt
  • 6 small zucchini, sliced thin
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 10 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
For White Sauce
  • 4 Tbl butter
  • 4 Tbl all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart milk
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 cup grated pecorino cheese
For Assembly
  • 1 package no-boil lasagne
  • 1 pound mozzarella, grated
Lightly salt the zucchini.  Cover the bottom of your biggest frying pan with plenty of olive oil and heat to medium high.  Fry zucchini slices in a single layer until cooked through.  You will need to work in batches.  Set aside.

Lower heat and add garlic to pan.  You might want to add some extra olive oil, but don't go too overboard as the mushrooms will give off plenty of liquid.  When garlic is fragrant, add musrhoom slices.  Cook until they are browned and give off their liquid.  Add zucchini back to the pan and toss together.  Set aside.

In a large saucepan melt the butter and whisk in the flour.  Cook for a few minutes until the roux doesn't taste like raw flour.  Slowly whisk in the milk.  Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and boils.  Add the nutmeg, pepper, and cheese.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place a layer of white sauce at the bottom a 13"x9" pan.  Add a layer of noodles to cover the bottom.  Then add a layer of white sauce, a layer of vegetables, and a layer of grated mozzarella.  Cover with another layer of noodles and repeat until you have used up all of your sauce, vegetables, cheese, and noodles.

Cover with foil and bake 50-60 minutes.


The Blonde Duck said...

Totally craving lasagna now.

The Blonde Duck said...

Are you going to do Italian desserts for Christmas?