Spinach-Mushroom Lasagna

January 28, 2008
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Lasagna is a crowd pleaser no mater how you serve it. This hearty vegetarian version doubles as an entrée. Multiply it to feed as many guests as you need. SAM

6 ounces no-boil lasagna (six 7-inch squares)
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock, very warm
2 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium onions, chopped (1 1/4 cups)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 pound mushrooms, brushed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons dry sherry
Juice of 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon snipped fresh rosemary
1 pound fresh spinach, stemmed and torn
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 (16-ounce) carton ricotta cheese
1/4 cup yogurt cheese
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese, divided
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

In an 8-inch square pan, crisscross the lasagna noodles and cover with warm stock, turning once to coat evenly.

In a chef’s pan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat, heat the olive oil and add the onions and garlic. Cover and sauté until tender. Add the mushrooms, sherry, lemon juice, paprika, and rosemary, raise the heat to medium-high, and sauté, uncovered, until liquid is reduced. Add the spinach and cook until wilted.

In a medium bowl, mix together the eggs, ricotta cheese, yogurt cheese, Romano cheese, and pepper.

Pour 1/3 cup of stock from the noodles into another 8-inch square baking pan and crisscross 2 layers of lasagna noodles in the bottom. Spread on top 1/3 each of the ricotta mixture, spinach mixture, and mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers until the pan is 3/4 filled, ending with mozzarella cheese. Do not fill to the top as the lasagna will expand as it cooks. Drizzle on top the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons Romano cheese. Pour the remaining stock around the edges and cover tightly with foil.

Bake at 350 degrees F, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking, uncovered, until the lasagna has risen to fill the pan and is golden on top, about 1 hour more. Let rest for 10 minutes on a wire rack before serving.
Makes 4 servings.

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Turkey-Mushroom Lasagna

November 23, 2007

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Half the fun of holiday dinners is the leftovers. Turn all that extra turkey into a great, very non-traditional lasagna. If you’re lucky, you’ll have some left over for lunch next day. SAM

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 pound mushrooms, brushed and thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry sherry
3/4 pound shredded turkey
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1/4 cup yogurt cheese
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese, divided
6 ounces no-boil lasagna (six 7-inch squares)
4 ounces grated mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup turkey or vegetable stock

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8 by 8-inch baking dish. In a chef’s pan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat, sweat the onion in 1 tablespoon oil, about 30 minutes. Add the garlic, mushrooms and sherry, raise the heat to medium-high, and sauté, uncovered, until liquid is reduced. Add the turkey, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper, and remove from the heat. In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, yogurt cheese, and Romano cheese.

Starting with noodles, build 4 layers of noodles, ricotta mixture, mushroom-turkey mixture, and mozzarella, ending with mozzarella. Pour the stock around the edges. Tear off a length of tin foil 8 inches longer than the dish and make a 1-inch crease side-to-side across the center. Cover the lasagna tightly, pulling the crease apart to create a tent. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or until browned.
Makes 4 servings.


Bon Voyage!

November 13, 2007

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Last day in Paris and here’s what you do with Quick Tomato Sauce: Pour 1/2 cup of boiling water over 1/2 cup of couscous. Add salt and a little butter or olive oil. Cover and steep for 3 or 4 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Pour sauce on top, sprinkle with grated Parmesan, and stir in a couple of tablespoon of heavy cream or crème fraîche. Serve with a fresh baguette. Fabulous!

Nationwide strike beginning here tonight for trains, buses, and Métro. ‘Perturbations’ are expected to be extreme. If you don’t hear from us for a couple of days, we’re stuck in transit. But, with luck, we’ll see you soon Stateside.

Ciao,

Sam & Harry


Roast Chicken and Mushrooms with Fresh Pasta

November 6, 2007

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In Paris markets, chickens are roasted at least twice a day. Follow your nose to the best boulanger and pick out the plumpest, crispest bird in the bunch. You can fix many quick and simple meals with fresh roast chicken. This mushroom-pasta dish is one of the best. SAM & HARRY

2 pounds onions, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound mushrooms, brushed and thinly sliced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons marsala
4 ounces soft goat’s cheese
4 quarts water, plus 1/2 cup, divided
1 pound fresh tagliatelle or linguine
1 pound roasted chicken, boned and shredded
Grated Gruyère or Parmesan and chopped parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

In a large chef’s pan over low heat, sweat the onions in 1 tablespoon oil until translucent, about 30 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the mushrooms and thyme and sauté, stirring occasionally until liquid is reduced, about 10 minutes. Add the marsala and reduce, about 2 minutes.

In a medium chef’s pan over very low heat, melt the goat’s cheese in 1/2 cup water, stirring until well blended.

In a large stock pot, bring 3 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain, toss with 1 tablespoon oil, and add to the melted goat’s cheese. Serve topped with onions, mushrooms, and chicken. Season with pepper and garnish with cheese and parsley.
Makes 4 servings.