There’s no way to get Lasagne wrong, no matter what filling you decide to choose.
In my family, the classic Lasagna with Tuscan Ragù and Béchamel sauce was a must of almost every Sunday lunch.
I like to twist the traditions a little bit so in the years I tried different kind of Lasagna with all kind of vegetables but I must say that by far this is my favorite one. I would eat the whole tray if I could!
Growing up I used to dislike artichokes because I only ever tasted the oily artichokes from the jar and I hated them. Then one day my mom made me try (insisting a lot) fried artichokes and I discovered a new side of them! That peculiar flavour which characterizes the artichokes among all vegetables and which I then discovered going sooo well also with creamy pasta and risotto.
Here is not so easy to find artichokes in the supermarket but in season I can find them at the weekly market in the central square so I usually stock up the fridge and try them in all kind of ways. This way happened to be one of the best result yet in a delicious creamy cheesy artichok-y lasagna!
In the recipe you will find the ingredients and instructions to do everything from scratch but you can of course skip those and buy dried Lasagne sheets and pre-made Béchamel sauce which you can easily find in every supermarket. Just make sure they are good quality!
How to clean the artichokes
One of the worst sides of artichokes is the cleaning part. It’s very messy and tough, but necessary.
If you want to skip these steps I suggest you buy only fresh artichoke hearts if you find them available, or you can also try with canned artichokes. Although they’re not as flavorful as fresh ones so I don’t recommend them.
Also, for this recipe I recommend the smaller elongated artichokes instead of the large round ones. The leaves of the small ones are softer and more edible while from the large ones you can only eat the hearts and the leaves are only used for dipping.
- Fill a bowl with cold water and lemon juice. Rub also lemon juice on your hands to prevent staining.
- Remove 2-3 rows of outer leaves from the bottom, they’re usually too hard to eat.
- With a knife, peel the bottom parts where you removes the leaves, to keep only the flesh.
- Cut off about 1 inch (3 cm) of the top. If the artichokes are big, also cut off the tips of the remaining leaves as they’re sharp.
- Cut the artichokes in half and with a teaspoon remove the fuzzy center until only the meat remains.
- Put the artichoke hearts in the bowl to prevent browning until it’s time to cook them.
For more detailed steps, check out this video on how to clean artichokes.
If you want to try more recipes with artichokes, check out these recipes:
Lasagna with Artichokes and Mozzarella
For the Lasagna sheets
- 100 g (3/4 cup) Semolina Flour
- 100 g (3/4 cup) All Purpose Flour
- 2 Eggs
- a pinch of salt
For the Béchamel Sauce
- 100 g (1/2 cup) Butter
- 80 g (1/2 cup) Flour
- 1 l (4 cups) Milk
- Black Pepper
- Ground Nutmeg
For the Filling
- 2-3 Mozzarella
- Parmigiano cheese grated
- Olive Oil
- 1 Shallot
- 10 Artichokes small elongated variety
- 1/2 glass White Wine
- Black Pepper
- If you decide to make fresh pasta, mix the flours with the eggs and add a pinch of salt. Knead the dough until you get a firm and smooth ball. Cover in wrap and set aside to rest for 10-15 minutes.
- While the pasta rests, clean properly the artichokes and cut into thin slices, then put them in a bowl of water mixed with lemon juice so they don't oxidate and turn brown.
- Now go back to the pasta and with a rolling pin or a pasta machine stretch the dough into a thin sheet and cut into large squares or rectangles (depending on your baking pan shape). Then set the pasta sheets on a clean towel to rest while you prepare the filling.
- Drizzle a large pan with olive oil, then finely chop the shallot and fry until it starts to brown. Add the drained artichokes and fry at medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the glass of wine and let the alcohol evaporate, then cover the pan with the lid and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the artichokes become soft. If the pan is too dry, you can add some water until they finish to cook.
- While the artichokes cook, you can prepare the béchamel sauce. Warm up the milk in the microwave or in the stove (do not bring it to boil, it just needs to be warm), keep it warm while in a large pan you melt the butter at low heat and add the flour. Then mix quickly with a whisk so the flour doesn't make lumps. When they are fully blended into a creamy mixture, slowly add the milk and keep whisking until the butter and flour mixture melt into the milk.
- When you've added all the milk, keep mixing at low heat until the béchamel starts to boil and it will quickly become a creamy sauce. When you see that it's dense enough, turn off the heat and season with salt, pepper and ground nutmeg. Set aside.
- Start with a thin layer of béchamel on the bottom of the baking pan, then add a layer of pasta sheets, the artichokes, the mozzarella, then cover with another layer of béchamel sauce, sprinkle with Parmigiano cheese and then repeat again from the beginning until you fill up the whole baking pan (you should make at least 4-5 layers). In the last layer, finish with the béchamel and a thick layer of Parmigiano cheese so you will get a nice crispy crust.
- Bake for 45 minutes at 180°C (350°F) or until the top will be golden brown. Serve hot.