Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pea Puree Lasagnette

Dear Denmark, you've done it to me again.  How many times have I gotten excited about a certain recipe, dashed to the grocery store, ingredient list in hand, only to drive home with hopes dashed because I couldn't find that *one* ingredient?  Apparently it has something to do with my little corner of the country because in talking to a group of girlfriends who live 90 kilometers away, they easily can find sweetened condensed milk in their grocery stores.  I bet the same goes for ricotta, too.  The injustice!

Luckily, there's a happy ending to this story.  The ingredient for which I was on a treasure hunt was ricotta cheese.  Instead I substituted cottage cheese and ran it through the food processor for 30 or so seconds to break up the little pieces.  No, it's not the same taste--or texture for that matter--as ricotta and Yes, I would have preferred ricotta, but mixed together with the pea puree it worked beautifully.

I picked up this delightful recipe from Poor Girl Gourmet: eat in style on a bare bones budget, one of the hottest cookbooks of 2010.  The book is all about eating well, very well, and saving money in the process.  The world could use more books like this.

Author Amy McCoy calls it Pea Puree Lasagnette because what you make is not a full tray of lasagna but fewer pieces of lasagna noodles with a delicate pea sauce between each layer.  While I like peas I don't love them and was a bit of a skeptic about the dish.  However, I enjoyed making it and, even better, it was absolutely delicious.  The shallots in the pea puree give it tons of flavor as does the conservative amount of crispy, crumbly bacon on top.

Another helpful feature of Poor Girl Gourmet is that each recipe comes with a cost estimate.  For instance, the Pea Puree Lasagnette is estimated to cost $8.98 for four (and there is a break down of each recipe component with price to show you how McCoy arrived at the total).

Pea Puree Lasagnette
From Poor Girl Gourmet by Amy McCoy

1c plus 2 1/3c frozen peas
1 medium shallot, finely chopped, divided
1t dried thyme, or 3t fresh, divided
1c fresh ricotta
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 wide lasagna noodles
2T plus 3T extra virgin olive oil
2T unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2T grated Pecorino Romano cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked to desired doneness and crumbled
1/4c (4T) créme fraiche or sour cream

My notes:  I used cottage cheese instead of ricotta, sea salt instead of Kosher, salted butter, Parmesan, and plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  Also, I used 8 lasagna noodles, and cooked the dish in a 9 by 13-inch baking pan.

1.  Preheat oven to 350F.  To make the pea puree, cook 1c of the peas, half of the shallot, and half of the thyme in 1/4c water in a small saucepan over medium heat until heated through, 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly, 5 to 7 minutes.

2.  Once the pea mixture has cooled, add it, liquid and all, to a blender or food processor and puree.

3.  Transfer the puree to a medium bowl and add the ricotta.  Mix well, until you have a pale green blend.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.  The puree may be made a day in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container if you so desire.

4.  In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the lasagna noodles according to the manufacturer's directions until al dente.  Rinse well with cold water to prevent the noodles from sticking to one another or to themselves. Set aside.

5.  Grease a 10 by 15-inch rimmed baking sheet with 2T olive oil to prevent pasta from sticking.  Lay two sheets of pasta on the bottom of the pan the long way.  Spread one-quarter of the pea puree on each. Cover each with another sheet of lasagna and spread the remaining pea puree evenly on both.  Top with a third layer of pasta and evenly distribute 1T of the butter pieces along the top noodle of each lasagnette stack.  Sprinkle with 1T of cheese over each stack, season with salt and pepper, and bake 25-30 minutes until lightly browned.  Remove and let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

6.  While the lasagnette cooks, cook the remaining peas, for they will grace the top of the lasagnette when all is completed.  Heat the remaining 3T olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add the remaining half of the shallot and cook until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the peas and the remaining thyme, and cook until the peas are heated through, 5 to 7 minutes.  Keep the topping peas warm until the lasagnette is ready to serve.

7.  Top each lasagnette with one-quarter of the pea mixture.  Sprinkle crumbled bacon onto each plate and top with sour cream.


  1. Recipe looks great – and that's a fabulous picture!

  2. Thanks so much, Jackie! Wish you could come over for some!

  3. I feel your pain. The whole ingredients thing is very fustrating! This however looks like it turned out wonderful.

  4. Thanks, Gitte! You probably had the reverse experience in the States. There are so many things that are uniquely Danish that I've never seen in the U.S. For instance, rugbrød...can you get it there?

  5. When I lived and cooked in DK, I was able to find ricotta at Bilka (if I'm remembering correctly...)Otherwise, my trick was to mix cottage cheese with marscapone cheese. That way you got a similar texture to ricotta with full flavor. I used this mixture in my veggie lasagna recipe and it was fab!

  6. Ooh, terrific idea, KP! Will try that, thanks!