There are a few things in this life that make me truly happy: a child’s laughter, a genuine hug, a cup of tea shared with a friend, being with my family, and cooking up something I know someone enjoys. These recipes have been requested by friends and family alike. May you always be able to sit around a table to enjoy a meal with a friend .
White Lasagna with Parmigiano Besciamella:
3/4 c. shallots (thinly sliced),
1 stick unsalted butter,
1/2 c. flour,
2 cloves garlic (finely chopped),
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg,
1 c. chicken stock or broth,
3 3/4 c. whole milk,
2 large eggs (lightly beaten),
1/2 c. Marsala or dry red wine,
1/2 tsp. kosher or sea salt,
1/2 tsp. pepper,
dash of red pepper flakes,
1/4 lb. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (divided),
12 no-boil lasagna noodle sheets.
Preheat oven to 350. Cook shallots in butter in a heavy saucepan or skillet, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender. Lower heat then stir in flour. Cook over low heat for 4 minutes. Add nutmeg, then slowly whisk in milk and stock. Bring to a low boil, whisking, then simmer until sauce thickens (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in eggs, Marsala, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 cup cheese. Spread about 1 1/4 c. sauce over bottom of an 11-by 8-inch baking dish. Cover with 3 lasagna sheets; repeat layers 3 more times. then top with remaining sauce and cheese. Bake uncovered for 45-50 minutes.
Note: Can also use a mixture of ricotta cheese, 1 egg, salt, pepper, basil and 1/2 c. Parmigiano on each lasagna sheet. This adds a nice richness to the dish!
Mac n’ cheese:
Make besciamella as before, by melting butter, cook shallots over medium heat. Add flour, salt and pepper. Cook for 4 minutes, add milk, whisking until smooth. At this point, cook your pasta (shells, rigatoni, elbows, etc.) in salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 c. of the pasta water. Place pasta in well-buttered baking dish, set aside.
To the sauce add about 2 c. of your favorite cheese blends. I like to use Provolone, mozzarella, Asiago and Parmigiano. (you can use Colby-Jack, with a block of goat cheese to add some zest!) Pour sauce over pasta stir well; use reserved pasta water as needed.
For crunchy, yummy topping, stir together 1 c. Panko bread crumbs and 1/2 cup Parmigiano cheese and 1/2 tsp pepper. Sprinkle over top of pasta, bake uncovered about 25 minutes.