Monday, May 27, 2013

Radish Carrot Top Pesto Lasagna with Sage Infused Béchamel and Pan-roasted Carrots and Kale

On my recent locavore mission, I've been going to my local farmer's market on Saturdays and buying the fresh, local, in-season produce there, with ambitious goals to . But then throughout the week I find I have no time, energy or even drive to cook and get to the next weekend with a fridge full of not-as-fresh produce giving me the pouty-face for wasting their best days sitting in a cold waiting room. It really is a tragedy.

 This time, though, I didn't let that happen: I used ALL the local produce I had. Every last bit. I would have to say this is actually the most locally-based then I've ever made. If I had gotten the freshly-ground flour that can be found at the local Hy-vee and made the lasagna noodles, it would have been pretty much pure-local. Radishes, carrots, and kale from my local farmer's market, sage from my garden (my first garden produce of the year, from my first truly-mine garden!), milk, cream, and butter from Shatto, and Kansas City-made mozzarella from Hautly Cheese Company. This is light and hearty at the same time, and tastes just like spring.

Radish Carrot Top Pesto Lasagna with Sage Infused Béchamel and Pan-roasted Carrot Purée and Kale

12 lasagna noodles
1 recipe raddish and carrot top pesto (below)
1 recipe sage-infused béchamel (recipe here)
1 recipe ricotta (recipe here)
1 bunch carrots
herb for carrots (I used rosemary)
1 Tbs. butter
salt, pepper
1 bunch kale
8 oz. mozzarella, grated
2 oz. Parmesan, grated

1. Pre-heat oven to 375F. 
2.. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
3. While water boils, melt butter in a cast-iron skillet on medium-heat. Add carrots and pan-roast with herb of choice, and sprinkle with salt.
4. Place a plate over the pan and cook until carrots are softened, stirring occasionally. When soft, food-process (adding oil if needed) until a purée is formed. Cover and set aside until assembly.
5. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. While cooking, make raddish and carrot-top pesto below.
6. Pour the lasagna water into a bowl with the washed kale, and let kale soak for a minute until kale is softened. Strain and squeeze as much liquid out of the kale as possible, and set aside.
7. Butter the lasagna dish, and assemble the lasagna: Pour 1/4 of the béchamel on the bottom of the pan. 
- Lay 4 noodles across the pan, slightly overlapping if need be. 
- Spread a layer of 1/2 the carrot purée, half the ricotta, half the carrot top pesto, half the kale, spreading out the leaves, and another 1/4th of the béchamel
Repeat above 2 bullet points for the next layer. Place remaining lasagna noodles on top, then remaining 1/4th of the béchamel on top and evenly sprinkle the mozzarella and Parmesan on top. 
8. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, or until cheese on top starts to get golden-brown and bubbly. Remove from oven.
9. Let lasagna sit and set for 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Raddish and Carrot-top Pesto
2 cups mixed carrot and/or radish tops, stems chopped off
1/3 cup toasted walnuts
2 - 4 Tbs. oil, as needed
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a food processor, pulse the walnuts until they are completely ground.
2. Add the tops and process until completely chopped, scraping down the sides as needed.
3. Process again, slowly adding oil until a nice paste is formed. Add salt and pepper to taste and put aside in a covered bowl until assembling lasagna.

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