what is it about small things that makes them so much better? they are cuter, sweeter, more special and in the case of food, i swear–more delicious! take any normal sized food and make it small and people go bonkers! mini cupcakes, mini pies, mini cheeseburgers, coronitas, tiny bottles of tobasco sauce, the list goes on. it’s so exciting to go to a party to see they’ve prepared a mini version of a delectable dish for each guest. it makes you feel special and of course less guilty for eating more than one helping, right?
introducing webite. a simple column for non-professionals that just love food. we’re going to try to make things we love with a twist, and starting this week we’ll be doing a series on mini servings of delicious dishes. i’ve enlisted the help of my lovely friend jenna to kick things off with spring fling mini-lasagnas filled with mushrooms, leeks, asparagus and creamy pesto.
What You Need:
4 ramakens (I used 7 oz., but use whatever size you have on hand!)
8 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
For the Pesto Cream Sauce:
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup pesto
For the Spring Veggies:
1 leek, cleaned, sliced
6 oz asparagus, sliced (they should look like little circles!)
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
2 Tbsp Olive oil
What To Do:
Preheat oven to 325F
To start the pesto cream sauce, heat olive oil in a pan (whatever pan you have will work); add garlic. Stir for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add cream and pesto and bring to a boil.Turn heat down to low and let simmer until mixture is reduced by half and is thick enough to coat the back of a dinner spoon, about 5-8 minutes. Set aside to cool while you make the veggies.
Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a new pan; Add chopped leeks, salt and pepper and stir frequently until cooked, about 4 minutes. Remove to a bowl. Add remaining Tbsp of oil to the pan; heat and throw in the asparagus, mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper, stirring frequently until asparagus and mushrooms are tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add to bowl with leeks
Put It All Together:
Using a biscuit cutter, place your noodles a cutting board and cut 12 circles out of the lasagna noodles (they will not be perfect; don’t freak out; that’s what you made extra noodles!). Spray ramekins with cooking spray.
Layer 1: Spoon 1 Tbsp pesto cream sauce on the bottom of the ramekins. Layer a noodle circle on top, then 2 Tbsp of veggie mixture then 1-2 Tbsp fontina cheese
Layer 2: Noodle; cream sauce, veggies, cheese
Layer 3: Noodle, cream sauce, Fontina and Parmesan cheese
Repeat with each of the remaining ramekins. Place in oven, covered with foil, for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes. Heat broiler and place them in for 1-2 minutes (depending on your broiler; watch them closely!!). Remove and let cool for five minutes before you dig in. If you can wait that long.
Our wine recommendation:
These teensy lasagnas that are pure spring in a ramekin deserve an equally bright, effervescent wine. This one is both affordable and accessible: 2011 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough. But really, any sauvignon blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand will do. Happy sipping! (stay tuned for more sipping fun next week, when we roll out wesip! thanks to ashley heggi for the wine rec!)
(layout, photographs and copy by alex michael may. recipe by jenna schiedermayer)