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Spinach & Artichoke Lasagna - total time 1.5 hours

So... we love spinach artichoke dip, it is the perfect appetizer.  I will pretty much try spinach and artichoke in every form possible.  Haven't made a bad one yet.  But usually I use artichokes from a can or jar, well, because I didn't know how to cook an artichoke.  It is hard to find canned artichokes that aren't marinated in some kind of oil or italian dressing of some sort... which can really change the flavor of what you were planning to make.  Well, now I can say I have officially cooked artichokes and will likely not spend the time to do that again any time soon (especially after I found out there are bag or artichoke hearts in the freezer section).

Since it took an hour to steam and peal the artichokes, I ended up using a jar of alfredo instead of making my own sauce like I planned.  This recipe would have been a lot faster if I had known about these frozen artichoke hearts...

9 lasagna noodles
1 cup fresh mozzarella, divided
16 oz ricotta
1 egg
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups spinach
1.5 cups artichoke hearts
3 cups alfredo sauce
.5 cup grated parm, divided

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Saute spinach in pan with garlic for four minutes, just enough to wilt down a little.  
2.  Combine ricotta, .75 cup mozzarella, egg, artichokes, cooked spinach, and .25 cup parm cheese.  Boil noodles for about one minute to get them warm.
3.  Spread some alfredo sauce over the bottom of a casserole dish.  Layer three noodles then the cheese mixture and some alfredo sauce.  Repeat.  Top with the last three noodles, cover with sauce, and finish with the remaining mozzarella and parm.
4.  Bake for 35 minutes.

How to make your own artichoke hearts...

1.  Chop off excess stem (should be an inch long).  Chop off the top of the artichoke (the prickly part).  You can cut about the top half off... you want what is in the core... or heart. 
2.  Steam artichokes for 10 minutes.  Let cool.
3.  Peal the artichoke petals and cut off the bottom, white, fleshy part.  Repeat until petals are gone.
4.  Cut out the fluffy part of the artichoke flower and scoop the rest of the artichoke flesh.  

Each artichoke results in about a half cup of artichoke heart.


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