Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Asparagus Pancetta Lasagna

I got this recipe from Giada's Kitchen - New Italian Favorites.

It's a lighter alternative to the traditional lasagna, using ricotta, asparagus and pancetta.  I served this as part of a Summer-Themed Italian Dinner; including the following items:

Recipe says that it makes 6-8 servings.  I'd argue it makes around 10.

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
9 lasagna sheets, fresh or dried
2 (8.5 ounce ) jars sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1 1/2  cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 pound pancetta, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 bunches of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (15-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/ Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the teaspoon of olive oil.  Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes for dried pasta or 2 to 3 minutes for fresh pasta.  Drain the pasta.

2/ In a food processor, combine the sun-dried tomatoes and basil.  Pulse until the mixture is combined.  Transfer to a small bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese.  Set aside.

3/ In a large skillet, brown the pancetta until crisp...

Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon.  Add the tablespoon of olive oil, the onion, and garlic to the same skillet and cook until tender, about 4 minutes.  Add the asparagus and cook until tender, about 4 minutes, then transfer the mixture to a large bowl.  Add the ricotta, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.

4/ Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Sprinkle some of the sun-dried tomato mixture over the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking sheet.  Place a layer of the lasagna sheets on top of the sun-dried tomato mixture and spread the noodles with half of the asparagus mixture.  Sprinkle with a third of the mozzarella cheese and a third of the remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  Make another layer in the same fashion . Top with a third layer of lasagna sheets,  some sun-dried tomato mixture, and the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.  Dot the top with the butter.  Bake until the lasagna is heated through and the cheese is melted, about 25 minutes.

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