Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Forest Food

This is the kind of dish to make for your earthy friend. The incredibly nutty pesto is softened with a velvety Bechamel sauce and used as a base for blanched asparagus and oyster mushrooms creating a woodsy, satisfying Spring lasagna.

For the Pesto:

1 1/2 cup hazelnuts (about 4 1/2 ounces), toasted lightly and skinned
2 cups packed fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves (about 1 large bunch), washed and dried
3 medium garlic cloves
3/4 cup olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

In a food processor blend together first three ingredients while slowly incorporating the olive oil

p.s. to toast and skin the hazelnuts just bake them on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes at 350 degrees and then roll them around in a kitchen towel until skins come off toast

For the Bechamel from Mario Batali:

5 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture turns a light, golden sandy color, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Add the hot milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Season with salt and nutmeg, and set aside until ready to use.

For the lasagna:

1 box of no boil lasagna noodles
1 lb of button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 lb of dried oyster mushrooms (reconstitute in simmering stock and wine)
1 1/2 bundles of asparagus, blanched and sliced into two inch pieces
1 cup of freshly grated Pecorino Romano
black pepper and salt
a glass lasagna pan

Preheat the oven to 350
cover the bottom of the pan with bechamel sauce
layer with noodles
add a layer of pesto and bechamel
add button mushrooms
layer with noodles
add a layer of bechamel
add asparagus
layer with noodles
add a layer of pesto
add oyster mushrooms
layer with noodles
add bechamel, pesto, pecorino and pepper to top

bake for 45 minutes covered with foil, remove foil and bake for 15 minutes, let sit for 10 and enjoy!


Jackie said...

SOunds good! Love the addition of the hazelnuts.