lasagna with peas and prosciutto

Oh, OH, OH!!! I had the great fortune to be invited to share in a most superb experience! I must admit, I was a bit skeptical that it would be a superb experience, and was delightfully surprised. I recently attended Outstanding in the Field, a dinner held on Ebey’s Prairie in Coupeville, WA. Having lived on Whidbey Island for many years, I was worried that it would be too cool and windy, and a dinner made in the outdoors, for 210 people would not be “outstanding.” Boy, was I wrong!

We arrived at Willowood Farms for cocktails and passed appetizers, then had a guided tour of the host farm, conducted by the owner/farmer. That progressed to being seated at a VERY LONG table, set for 210 guests, in the middle of a field of barley!! As you can see, it was a spectacular evening, beautiful weather, amazing setting, lovely people to meet and dine with. Five courses ensued, each dish having been prepared with ingredients so locally sourced that we were sitting in the field of barley from which the bread was made! Should you get to Coupeville, be sure to visit The Oyster Catcher — they made the most delicious bread! Yep, it was TRULY OUTSTANDING!! My Kudos to Chef Stuart Lane of Spinasse, guest chef for the evening.

I want to share with you my version of the delicious lasagna that was served as our third course. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Lasagna with Shelling Peas and Prosciutto

Prosciutto is Italian for ham, both the cured variety we all associate with that term, but also for cooked ham, just like the kind you put on your sandwiches. For this dish, cooked ham is ideal.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1/2 rib celery
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 6 tablespoons flour Wondra
  • 4-1/2 cups hot milk
  • small bouquet garni
  • salt and white pepper
  • nutmeg
  • 2 pounds fresh pasta prepared in sheets
  • 1 cup Romano cheese freshly grated
  • 2 cups freshly shelled peas
  • ½ pound prosciutto cotto cooked ham, in ¼-inch dice
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

Prepare Béchamel:

  1. Cut onion, carrot and celery into small dice. Mince the garlic, or force through a press. Melt butter in large sauté pan over medium heat. Add vegetables, sauté until the onion is translucent. Sprinkle flour over, stir, cook 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in half of the milk, return to boil, then add remaining milk and bouquet garni. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Strain for a silky smooth sauce.

To assemble:

  1. Spread about 6 tablespoons béchamel over bottom of prepared baking pan. Top with a layer of pasta sheets, trimming to fit as necessary. Spread on another layer of béchamel, then a layer of peas and ham. Sprinkle cheese over all, then a sprinkle of olive oil. Top with pasta. Continue repeating layers, last layer is béchamel and cheese. May be made one day ahead to this point. Refrigerate; let stand 15 minutes at room temperature before baking.
  2. Bake at 350°F about 20-25 minutes, until sizzling and beginning to turn golden. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Serves 8.

Variation: Mushroom lasagne: 2 pounds sliced mushrooms 4 cloves garlic, minced 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes 2 black truffles, thinly sliced or grated 4 to 6 tablespoons truffle oil In place of artichoke hearts, sauté 2 pounds sliced mushrooms in olive oil over high heat, with garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. Layer as for artichoke lasagne, substituting every other layer with mushrooms, then truffles. Substitute truffle oil for the olive oil. Bake as directed above.


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