Friday, February 26, 2010

Lasagna Bianca con Carciofi

Lasagna Bianca con Carciofi (White Lasagna with Artichokes)

Beciamela Sauce...
Olive Oil
White Wine
Shallots, thinly sliced
Chicken, cubed into bite-size pieces
Shredded carrots
Fennel Seeds
Sea Salt and pepper to taste
Whole fresh basil leaves
Fresh baby spinach
Italian/Flat-leaf Parsley, coarsely chopped
Chopped Artichoke hearts

The rest of it…
Lasagna Noodles
Ricotta cheese (or cream cheese)
Cottage Cheese
Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Make a basic Beciamela Sauce (White Sauce) –
Melt butter with a splash of olive oil so that it doesn’t brown. Once the butter is melted, add flour to make a roux. Add milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Once you have the amount and consistency that you want, add a splash of white wine and cinnamon. Whisk again until smooth. Set aside.

Make Chicken for the sauce –
Sauté the shallots in olive oil until softened. Add and brown the chicken. Add fennel seeds and carrots, cook until carrots are done. Wilt the spinach and basil leaves. Turn off heat and add parsley and chopped artichokes. Combine the beciamela and the chicken.

Assemble The rest of it –
Spoon a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13” pan. Then alternate noodles, mozzarella (to cover the seams), chicken sauce, ricotta, cottage cheese, and parmesan cheese. Repeat until you reach the top of the pan. The last layer should be the chicken sauce.

Bake at 350°F (covered in foil) until the sauce bubbles along the side of the pan, usually an hour. Then top with parmesan cheese and bake another 10 minutes, uncovered, to brown the top.

Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mini Chocolate-Artichoke Bundts with a Silky Chocolate Sauce

When I told a friend I'd make artichoke cupcakes for her tea party, I should have warned her that I rarely, if ever, make the same thing twice. So instead of the artichoke cakes with a cream cheese frosting, I opted for a chocolatey version. Thank goodness, she didn't mind...and everyone seemed to enjoy these decadent treats.

Chocolate-Artichoke Cakes

4-1/2 C white whole wheat flour
1/2 C Dutch process cocoa powder
2 t baking soda
2 t salt
2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground cloves
2 sticks softened butter
1 C canola oil
2 C raw sugar
1 C blue agave nectar
4 eggs
2 t vanilla extract
1 C buttermilk
2 cups chopped artichoke hearts
8 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325. Mix dry ingredients. Beat butter and oil until well-mixed. Add sugar and beat until lightened. Beat in agave and eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla. Beat in half the flour mixture, then the second half. Stir in chocolate chips. Scrape batter into pans. Bake for 50 minutes, or until the cake is well risen and a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack. Top with silky chocolate sauce.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Another One Done

Jacob is putting the finishing touches on another artichoke painting. He's too close to it though and doesn't like it. But I LOVE it! What do you think?