Spinach Artichoke Potato Lasagna
I have had this dish in my bucket list of recipes for so long that I don't even recall where the idea came from. All I know is that it would satisfy my obsession for potatoes, for experimenting with more vegetarian meals for Meatless Mondays and I could even use the new little crocks that came with the caccavelli I discovered at my local Italian grocers. Another added bonus is that I could use fresh ricotta for it's firmer texture and superior quality.
Every Tuesday I would take a side trip to my "foodie mecca" and wistfully ask if they had any fresh ricotta in today. For the past month or so someone has been eating up all of the ricotta...lasagna must be at the dinner table of every home in the valley...so it has not been available. Then we had a snow storm and there was no delivery!!! My search for fresh ricotta seemed doomed to fail.
Now don't get me wrong, it is never a wasted trip to be in the aisles of my favourite store with so many pasta varieties, cheese and other delicacies calling my name. I am always peering sideways hoping no one will see me brush my hand against the halloumi lovingly or cast a longing glance at the Iberico ham. Even my family and friends knew I couldn't keep my hands off of the produce!!! But all "foodie love" aside my goal was ricotta.
The bottom line is that this recipe sat on the back burner until this weekend. I know what you are thinking... you could make your own ricotta Valerie.... but time is at a premium these days with working 6 days a week at three separate offices, hitting the gym like there is no tomorrow (short lived I know), doing my on-line "job", volunteering, blogging and trying to maintain a social life all in a 24 hour day.
This little casserole was enjoyed. I suggest that the name lasagna is just because it is layered and made with ricotta and bechamel, since it is really more of a potato casserole. Did it meet my expecations? Not quite. The next time I make it I will cut the potatoes thicker on the mandolin to have more separated layers. My slices were almost paper thin and I would prefer a thicker layer. I think I would also add some Chipotle pepper into the bechamel as well for added oomph!!! Other than that bake away!!!!
**Spinach Artichoke Potato Lasagna**
2 pounds large, starchy potatoes, peeled and sliced lengthwise 1/4-inch thick (mine were too thin so next time!)
1 box frozen spinach, defrosted and wrung dry
1 box frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted and chopped or 1 can artichokes in water, drained well and chopped
1 containers ricotta cheese (15-16 ounces)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
Salt and pepper
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided
2 tablespoons butter
1 rounded tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk
Freshly grated nutmeg
Shredded basil, for garnish
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Parboil the potatoes for 5 minutes in boiling salted water and drain.
Combine the spinach, artichoke hearts, ricotta, garlic, salt, pepper, egg yolks and half the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese in a bowl.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat and whisk in the flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the milk, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and thicken the sauce to coat a spoon.
Pour half of the sauce into a casserole dish and top with a layer of the potatoes, then half the spinach-artichoke mixture. Continue layering the casserole with more potatoes, the remaining spinach-artichoke, the rest of the potatoes and top with the remaining sauce and cheese.
Bake until deeply golden, 40-45 minutes. Cool the lasagna for 5-10 minutes, then top with the basil, cut into squares and serve
Note: I used 4 smaller casserole dishes and it still took the full amount of baking time, so 45 minutes it is.
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