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Asparagus Artichoke Basil Rosettes

VEGETARIAN RECIPES- Asparagus Artichoke Basil Rosettes

 

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Asparagus Artichoke Basil Rosettes

YIELD: 7 servings (2 per person based on 14 rosettes)

When it comes to food for celebrations, we want to pull out all the stops. Initially, thinking about making these rosettes had me sweating bullets, but I conquered my fear and these were worth it! The variations and ideas for sauces is pretty limitless. For the filling, I used artichoke bottoms from a can because that’s what I had on-hand, but feel free to try these with steamed artichoke hearts instead.

ASPARAGUS SAUCE
1 pound asparagus

2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped

¼ teaspoon olive oil

2 small cloves garlic, crushed

¼ cup whole milk

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 large egg

Dash of freshly cracked black pepper

 

LASAGNA
1 package curly edged lasagna noodles

 

ARTICHOKE FILLING
½ cup (5) Cento brand artichoke bottoms

½ cup fresh homemade ricotta

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Dash of freshly cracked black pepper

 

1. Set water to boil in a large soup pot. While it’s heating up, chop off the ends of asparagus near bottom of green part and before the pale ends (which can be hard to chew and stringy). Place asparagus in steamer basket in boiling water for about 3-4 minutes until asparagus turns bright green.

2. Meanwhile, drizzle olive oil into small sauté pan and add chopped basil leaves. Simmer until toasted. Remove from heat.

3. Drain asparagus and move spears to food processor receptacle. Add in crushed garlic cloves, basil leaves (and oil from pan), egg, salt, pepper and pour in milk. Puree until almost smooth (a little bit of chunkiness lends something rustic to this dish).

4. Wash out soup pot and then fill with 4-6 quarts of water. Set over high heat and cover until boiling. Add in lasagna noodles and turn heat down to medium. Let lasagna noodle sheets cook until al dente about 8-9 minutes based on package instructions. Stir occasionally and gently, taking care not to break noodle sheets.

5. While noodles are cooking, pour your asparagus sauce into a small serving bowl and then clean out the food processor receptacle. Once clean, transfer the artichoke bottoms and fresh homemade ricotta to the food processor receptacle along with cracked black pepper and kosher salt to taste. Puree until smooth.

6. Transfer artichoke ricotta filling to a small serving bowl.

7. Drain the lasagna sheets in a colander, taking care to rinse them with cold water, to help prevent sticking and also to make them easier to handle.

how to make lasagna rosettes

8. Take 1 lasagna sheet and set on a clean countertop. Take a tablespoon from your cutlery drawer and fill with artichoke ricotta (about 1 T filling per lasagna sheet). Set the tip of your spoon down in the middle of the lasagna noodle and drag it in a straight line, taking care to ensure even distribution. Then pinch the two corners together, like you would folding a sheet or blanket and begin to roll inward like a pinwheel.

rolling asparagus artichoke basil rosettes

making lasagna rosettes

You want to make sure they are tight both as you roll them and tight in the casserole dish. (I used a measuring cup to keep the rosettes from moving in the casserole dish and to keep them tight until enough of them were in the dish.)

tips on making lasagna rosettes

tightly packed in casserole dish

9. Keep rolling until you’ve used up your supplies. (In my case, I found a few of the lasagna sheets were mangled or falling apart so I only used the ones that were perfect which resulted in 14 rosettes. With this recipe, you can easily make 18, but that again is contingent on the shape of the noodles).

10. Once the casserole dish is full, carefully pour the asparagus basil sauce over the rosettes evenly so as to ensure even distribution over all rosettes. Refrigerate overnight.

11. On the evening you’re planning to serve the rosettes, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once the oven is heated up, cook for 15 minutes.

 

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Categories
Notes from the Kitchen

On being fearless outside & in the kitchen

making lasagna rosettes

When was the last time you felt fearless?

I remember full well as the truck ambled up the long mountain road in Costa Rica. Up we drove, passing black shadows working their way from branch to branch in the slender tall trees. Sometimes the shadows wore smug scrunched up faces that peered out from the branches with mouths and fists full of leaves. But up our truck went, past the howler monkeys, well past civilization. Some people when thoroughly surrounded by nature and little else feel themselves more alive. Perhaps it’s some sort of primal response.

Let’s just say I feel most at home in the urban jungle.

And yet at the top of this mountain, rather than that impending feeling of victory and elation of conquest, the only way down involved thin wires sagging from the mountaintop to the edge of another mountain. There was also a crampon attached to my own monkey suit of loops and hip stirrups and such. When the Mama and Tia Berta had first suggested a canopy tour, I thought I had it in the bag. Even on the way to the top of the mountain, I let the wind ruffle my hair and listened to it whistle through the trees, relaxed and at peace.

That all ended when a man told me to jump off the mountain.

Something about that seemed intrinsically wrong. The voice of self-preservation yelled back just as forcefully, “don’t do it!!!” And I watched children take their turns in front of me, screaming “wheee” amid whoops of jubilation. My cousin Michael took a running start and leapt off the mountain with great abandon letting his arms flex out into the arc of wings, nothing holding him to that wire cord than the crampon and monkey suit. I dug my heels into terra firma. Beck cajoled me to go for it, that it would be like flying.

Friends, I’ve never had delusions of needing to fly. This only confirmed it.

I ran and sort of kept running until the land ran out. Then I leaned back because the guides said that would make me most aerodynamic and my zip-line zipped faster than I could imagine. I soared over the speckled ridge of tree tops hundreds of feet below. Splashes of orange and brown and green all reminded my peripheral vision that below were trees and they were beautiful I’m sure. Except my hands never left the crampon and my gaze seldom veered from directly in front of me where the land quickly approached and looks of horror painted the faces of those on the other side as I couldn’t stop.

I’ll never forget the smirk on Michael’s face or the laughter pealing from his open mouth. And after that first zip-line, I felt like I had come, seen and yes, to a degree conquered only to be reminded we had six left. But I had the last laugh.

And their names were Arturo, Pedro and Marco.

The guides could easily see my consternation etched in the furrowed brow on my face, so they decided to take turns zip-lining with me. When they ran and jumped off, I was just along for the ride. All of a sudden, that presence of a body behind my own, a voice telling me to look around freed me up and changed my whole experience. The canopies of the trees below were flocked with leaves and spindly branches poking up. The canyon, while incredibly far below also gave me an aerial perspective I could not have attained from an airplane or else-wise. I felt stronger, more brash and brazen than I could have imagined. And all from the knowledge that jettisoning from mountaintop to mountaintop, I was not alone, there was a voice, a Person with me on my voyage.

This experience while “amazing” and enlightening was been there-done that. I retired my crampon and monkey suit with great pride and lithe deployment.

This monkey, me, is meant for the land and two feet by which to traverse it.

So let’s start again: when was the last time you felt fearless? And perhaps just as important, what keeps you from feeling fearless? Do you have a Person egging you on to try the feats not yet mastered?

How about in the kitchen- do you stick to only tried and true recipes or imagine tastes and executions you’ve never put together before? I for one, am a bit of a rogue in the kitchen and have been since I was wee in stature and age.

Take these asparagus artichoke basil rosettes. Lunch at a restaurant in Santa Cruz weeks ago resulted in a quickly hatched idea for a birthday meal for my one and only. He happens to love artichokes and asparagus and well, the rest sketched itself into these primary constructs. The thing is I had never before tackled making rosettes. Were they going to fall apart? (yes. sort of. more tomorrow.) Was he going to feel appropriately celebrated? (yes.) Would I get that wonderful cocktail of two parts creative mischief with one part adrenaline to make me veer from the fail-proof recipes? (yes.)

And so it went. I boiled my lasagna noodles seeing them enlightened with a bit of magic in the curl and swoops, the bubbles popping on the surface of the water. I hacked at slender spears of asparagus and pureed artichoke bottoms and fresh housemade ricotta into a creamy sinful concoction that needed at least two fingers worth of sampling to be convinced it was just right. Then there was the rolling of the rosettes and a flash of nervous sweat on my brow along with trepidation.  Too much filling and they oozed in a not particularly appetizing kind of way that the three year olds in my Sunday school class would have cackled and squealed over. And my tip to you is, the measuring cup is your alley in keeping the rosettes in place until your dish is wall-to-wall with rosettes.

I’m not going to lie, at times, I felt like I was fighting against physics.

But my odds continued getting better, the more I rolled. Food fail? I think not. And so I ask you, what is a recipe or idea of a recipe you’ve been crafting in your mind that you’re not sure will ever see the light of your plate? And then I ask you, what do you have to lose?

If you make the rosettes, bring a deft hand, a sense of humor and that sureness of finding your footing mid-stride, even if it is hundreds of feet above a canopy of trees in the Costa Rican rainforest.

Any way you slice it, you’ll soar.