Sunday is for lasagne

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And here comes the week end: after-work-Friday, then social-Saturday, and finally lazy-Sunday: a moment of obligatory, and often physiological, rest that some don’t like so much. The three of us definitely don’t belong to this category! We do love sundays a lot, especially when hanging out with a group of friends in a cozy house by the lake, and a lasagna-the queen of Sundays’ meals- is in the oven.

In today’s recipe we decided to use artichokes, a tribute to the magnificent Rome and perfect in spring for their depurative action on Liver. Bechamel is a must when you make lasagna, and yes we know, it doesn’t have much on the depurative side, but it fits so well and enters so smoothly between the layers of pasta that is hard to say no.

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We used a small trick of Fra, which is to blend part of the artichokes (but you can do it with whatever veggie you are using to season your lasagna or pasta) and mix it with some of the bechamel to get a delicious cream and make the sauce better combine with the pasta. Our handmade pasta queen was very much missed during our week-end together in Rome, and this is why this lasagna is for her, our brave incuQIna who just moved to the US and is maybe the biggest fan of spending sundays in the kitchen to prepare a good lunch for friends. We wish her the best for this time and this experience on the other side of the ocean, with the hope that even with all this distance, cooking virtually together will make us feel close.

And this is exactly the effect of this lasagna: it brings everyone together and makes you feel welcome, wherever you are.

Serves 10 -Medium difficulty- Prep time: 1h and 30′

You will need:

  • 12 artichokes
  • 2 lemons
  • 500 gr lasagne (for the pasta, follow the instructions herewithout cutting into strips!)
  • 800 ml milk
  • 4 tsp butter
  • 4 tsp flour
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • olive oil

How to:

  1. Fill a bowl with cold water and the juice of two lemons;
  2. clean the artichokes, removing the hard external leaves and take away the internal beard, if there is any. Cut them into strips and leave them in the bowl with water and lemon until you are done cleaning all of them;
  3. put the artichokes to cook in a pan with some olive oil. Let cook on a low heat. After about 5 minutes add a pinch of salt and half a glass of water, and let them cook until tender (about 15 minutes).
  4. Start to prepare the bechamel. Melt the butter in a pan on a low heat;
  5. add the flour gradually while stirring continuously, until smooth.
  6. add the milk, without stopping stirring in order to avoid forming clamps;
  7. let cook for about 7-10 minutes, until the sauce thickens;
  8. add a pinch of salt and nutmeg to taste;
  9. take half of the artichokes, and with a hand mixer blend together with 3/4 of the bechamel and obtain your green sauce;
  10. Let’s put everything together: pre-heat the oven at 180 C;
  11. quickly parboil each foil of pasta (for about 30 seconds) and drain well;
  12. put a spoon of the green cream on the bottom of a casserole and spread it well;
  13. start to built your lasagna with a layer of pasta, to cover all the surface of the casserole, then follow with some artichoke cream, then pasta again, then some of the un-blended artichokes, then a layer with both some green sauce and artichokes, and continue until you run out of artichokes and green sauce;
  14. lay the last layer of pasta and finish off with the white bechamel and  a dust of parmigiano or pecorino;
  15. bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until golden and crusty on the top.

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