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Artichoke and Melted Fennel Lasagna

Photo: Oxmoor House

 

Hands-on time 45 mins
Total time 2 hrs, 30 mins
Yield Serves 8
You've heard that people eat with their eyes. Well, it's not true. That's impossible. People do, however, respond to color in ways both physiological and psychological. Lasagna, of course, is a classic comfort food. And monochromatic color schemes are recognized as soothing. This, then, is an exercise in making lasagna both soothing and comforting. The result is rich, subtle, and luxurious, highlighting the flavors of artichoke and fennel with the bright touch of lemon. Add a glass of crisp white wine and a frisée salad with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt, and all your stresses will melt away.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Buttermilk Ricotta
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 cups julienne-cut yellow onion
  • 2 1/2 cups fine julienne-cut fennel bulb
  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 18 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and coarsely chopped
  • Cooking spray
  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles

Nutrition Information

  • calories 301
  • fat 10.8 g
  • satfat 3.8 g
  • monofat 4.2 g
  • polyfat 1 g
  • protein 11 g
  • carbohydrate 42 g
  • fiber 7 g
  • cholesterol 39 mg
  • iron 2 mg
  • sodium 441 mg
  • calcium 172 mg

How to Make It

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°.

  2. MAKE TWO FILLINGS

  3. Combine the ricotta, the parsley, the pecorino, the thyme, and the egg in a medium bowl. Set aside until it's time to layer the lasagna.

  4. Make a blonde roux: heat a small saucepan over low heat. Add the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and stir until the butter melts. Whisk in the flour until the mixture is well combined.

  5. Whisk in the half-and-half, stirring constantly.

  6. Whisk in the chicken broth, the lemon zest, and the lemon juice. Stir constantly and simmer gently for 5 minutes or until thickened. Turn off the heat.

  7. Heat a large, straight-sided skillet over low heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and swirl. Now, add the onions, the fennel, the garlic, the salt, and the pepper.

  8. Cover and cook the vegetables over low heat 30 minutes or until they are soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.

  9. Uncover and raise the heat to medium. Stirring constantly, cook off excess liquid. Add the wine and cook until the wine evaporates, about 30 minutes, stirring constantly to make the onion mixture almost "melted" and jammy.

  10. Remove the onion mixture from the heat. Add the broth mixture and the artichokes to the onions, and warm through.

  11. BUILD LAYERS

  12. Liberally spray a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray.

  13. Spread 3/4 cup of the warm onion mixture in the dish, followed by a single layer of 4 lasagna noodles, followed by 1 cup of the ricotta mixture.

  14. Repeat. Use all of the remaining ricotta mixture. Preferably, the top layer will be the onion mixture.

  15. Place the 4 remaining lasagna noodles on top, followed by the last of the onion mixture. You were snacking on it, weren't you?

  16. BAKE, BROIL, AND SERVE

  17. Cover tightly and bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Preheat broiler.

  18. Uncover and broil 5 minutes, or until the top layer is a photo-friendly golden brown.

  19. Rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

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