Spring Lasagna

Spring Lasagna (1 of 8)Spring Lasagna (7 of 8) Spring Lasagna (3 of 8)

I’m not a big quote person. I’m not often moved to repin or repost little sayings here and there. I like to be original and come up with my own material most of the time. But every now and then one will strike me just right. And that’s it. I’m totally in to it. And I tell everyone about it, like, “THIS IS MY LIFE.” And then I instantly become that annoying quote person.

All that to say, I found this quote that really resonated with me.

“Maybe happiness is this: not feeling like you should be elsewhere, doing something else, being someone else.” – Isaac Asimov

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a future dweller. Thinking ahead, planning ahead, sometimes living in my day dreams. Sometimes I feel like my head must look something like a pinball machine on the inside. It seems like all I do is bounce from wanting to be somewhere else, to wanting to do something else, to wanting to be someone else. Living in the present has been something that’s taken a lot of work. Especially learning how to really enjoy what the present has to offer, instead of living in a constant state of anticipation.

Thinking ahead is exhilarating for a while, but I usually end up exhausted after racing around, trying to wrap my mind around all these things that haven’t even happened yet. And so I come crawling back to the present and try to keep my feet on the ground. Some days are easier than others. And yesterday was one of those days.

It felt so good to be here, doing this, being me. And I read that quote. And thought, “YES.” That’s all. Think of it what you will. But for me it was wonderful.

Speaking of wonderful, this lasagna I made last night turned out pretty great. I was searching for recipes that used stinging nettles at work earlier this week, and this one popped up. Though I didn’t have nettles to use at home, kale subbed in just fine. And despite the fact that I can’t eat this bechamel-laden dish (boo dairy allergy!), it looked and smelled absolutely divine. Fresh spring flavors and oozy, browned cheese. My sweet husband was pretty pumped about it. So there you go. Yay spring!

Spring Lasagna (2 of 8)

Spring Lasagna
Author: Adapted from The Bitten Word.
http://www.thebittenword.com/thebittenword/2011/04/spring-lasagna-with-asparagus-peas-and-stinging-nettles.html
Ingredients
  • 1 pound Italian Chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 5 cups stripped kale
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 ounces chevre
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 lemons, very thinly sliced
  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stem and cut asparagus spears into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, cook sausage, breaking up pieces, until no longer pink. Transfer sausage to paper towel-lined plate.
  3. Into same saucepan, add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, then the pieces of asparagus spears. Sauté asparagus until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Add remaining olive oil to pan, then add diced onion and sauté until just softened and beginning to turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add kale leaves and sauté until wilted and cooked through, about 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Cover lemon slices with water in the saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon.
  6. Make the roux: Melt butter in the different saucepan over high heat. Stir in flour; cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat. Simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Whisk in Parmesan and goat cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  7. Spread 1/4 cup of the sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, then top with a layer of noodles. Top with sautéed asparagus, half the sausage, one third of the remaining sauce, and another layer of noodles. Top that with kale and onions, half the remaining sauce, half the lemon slices, the remaining sausage and another layer of noodles. Arrange the remaining lemon slices and the reserved asparagus tips on the top layer, then pour on the remaining sauce.
  8. Cover dish with parchment-lined aluminum foil and bake 30-35 minutes, until top is golden and bubbly. (You may want to finish it under a broiler for 2 minutes.) Let stand 10 minutes.

 

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