Monday, January 18, 2010

Radicchio Lasagne

This recipe was inspired by a dish I had at an amazing agriturismo called La Pasina just outside Treviso, Italy. Winter is definitely the season for this rustic delight.  In most American supermarkets we can find radicchio which comes in a ball shape, this is known in Italy as radicchio di Verona. Although it is not the radicchio that would normally be used in this recipe, it can be used with satisfying results. Ideally radicchio di Treviso would be used, which has the same purple color, but comes in the shape more similar to an endive. Allow time to make this dish, and know that the results are well worth the effort.

Ingredients:
about 1-1 1/2 pound of radicchio (thinly sliced, then chopped into small pieces)
2 tbsp sugar
3/4 pound ground turkey
3 tbsp tomato sauce (tomato puree from a can is fine)
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups bechamel sauce (see recipe below)
1/2 onion diced
1 9oz box lasagne (I use Barilla's no boiling require, fresh is better if you have the time/desire)
3 oz. grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (half stick) unsalted butter
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet over medium to high heat, brown the diced onion in olive oil. Then add the ground turkey. and cook for about 10 minutes until it is nicely browned.   Next add the chopped radicchio. When using radicchio di Verona (the ball kind), at this point I add about 2 tbsp of sugar to take away some bitterness from the radicchio. (This is of course, optional.) Stir well, then add the white wine.  Once the wine is mostly absorbed, add the tomato sauce.  Cook for about another 10 minutes, then add salt and pepper to taste. Remove skillet from heat, and stir in the bechamel sauce and the ricotta.

To assemble the lasagne, generously butter a baking pan. I like my lasagne to have more layers, so for this one I think 9x13 is too large.  I prefer something smaller and deeper. You may choose the size you prefer.  On the bottom of the buttered baking pan, put a layer of lasagne, then cover it generously with your sauce/filling. put a light sprinkling of parmesan cheese on top of the sauce. Next put another layer of lasagne, covering it with sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan. Repeat this process according to the size of your baking pan.  The last layer should be of sauce with a generous covering of parmesan cheese. Place the lasagne on the middle rack of an oven preheated to 400 degrees. Cook the lasagne for about 45 minutes, when a golden crust should have formed on top.  Before serving, let stand for at least 10 minutes. Enjoy! Also, leftovers are wonderful if there are any. A nice merlot would go well with this dish.

Bechamel sauce (makes 2 cups)
1/2 stick (4 tbsp butter)
1/2 cup flour
2 cups milk
1/4 tsp salt
dash of ground nutmet

Melt the butter in a small heavy bottom sauce pan. Add the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes over medium heat. In another small sauce pan, heat the milk until almost boiling. Gradually add the milk to the butter/flour mixture, stirring constantly. A wire whisk is helpful to avoid lumps. Once all of the milk has been added, bring to a gentle boil, and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring almost constantly. Sauce should be somewhat thick.  Season with salt pepper and nutmeg, stir well, then remove from heat.



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