Monday, February 28, 2011

White Lasagna Cupcakes

I'm posting this recipe not because it's perfect, but because it's an example of one of those experiments that I try, fail slightly, but then make better on a return visit.

I'm posting the original recipe as I served it at last December's wine dinner. But it wasn't perfect. The cupcake idea was odd. It meant that they cooked unevenly and ended up with crunchy-chewy noodles on the top. The second attempt? I used the same ingredients and techniques to make "plain ol'" lasagna. Delicious.

White Lasagna Cupcakes
From Food & Wine magazine.
Makes 8 servings.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the ramekins
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 pound fresh lasagna noodles
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 large egg
1/4 cup snipped chives
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
8 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, finely diced
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter eight 6-ounce ramekins and coat with Parmigiano; tap out the excess. Place the ramekins on a sturdy rimmed baking sheet.

In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, cook the lasagna noodles until al dente. Drain and cool under running water. Pat dry. Using a 3 1/4-inch biscuit cutter, stamp out 24 rounds (they should fit neatly inside the ramekins).

In a large saucepan, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the flour and whisk over moderately high heat for 1 minute. Add the milk and whisk over moderate heat until the sauce is bubbling and thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg, chives, parsley and 1/2 cup of the Parmigiano. Let cool slightly, then stir in the Fontina and prosciutto. Season the filling with pepper.

Arrange 1 pasta round in the bottom of each ramekin. Spoon a scant 1/4 cup of the filling into each ramekin and top with another noodle; press to flatten slightly. Top with the remaining filling and pasta rounds. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmigiano and cover loosely with foil.

Bake the cupcakes for about 20 minutes, until the filling is just bubbling. Remove the foil and bake for about 30 minutes longer, until slightly puffed and the tops and sides are golden. Let cool for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the lasagna cupcakes, then invert onto plates, tapping firmly to release them. Serve hot or warm.

Food/Wine Pairing: Food & Wine nails this one. Pour a buttery, rich Chardonnay as the perfect foil to the richness of the pasta dish.

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