Ok, so I know I complained about summer just a little bit last time we talked. And I have to say I got what was coming to me, because I just spent a week in the North Carolina mountains where it did nothing but rain. Honestly though, it was beautiful. Every morning the mountains had a layer of mist settled over them. It was a week of open windows (no air conditioning) and the smell of rain and wet sandaled feet. And while all this might sound relaxing, last week was actually a lot of work because I was there to help lead a youth conference. This meant lots of walking, lots of hill climbing, and lots of stair scaling. It meant late nights and early mornings. But it also meant amazing speakers, meaningful worship, and being with friends both new and old.
And for those of you who doubt the youth of today (not that I’m that far removed from it, let’s be honest), I just want to say that the high school students I met this past week were amazing. They said thoughtful things. They listened to each other. And when our conversations turned toward the controversial, they remained polite and respectful and shared a wide array of opinions.
Now I am back, however, and trying to settle into some semblance of a routine (which has turned out to be oh so hard during the summer). It’s nice to be back though. Back in my comfortable bed and in the air conditioning and with the ability to actually get enough sleep each night. I’m sifting through my lists to figure out what I want to make before summer comes to a close, and so in the meantime I’ll give you something I made before I left but didn’t have time to post with all that packing and preparation.
I am always on the hunt for non-tomato-involved lasagnas, and this one seemed promising. But I really really was not very sure about it when I was making it. It’s a Giada recipe (in fact, what she apparently made for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, except in miniature form), and it seems to have an awful lot of cheese. Which, it does, but it is oh so good. This is a rich and creamy lasagna, and a bit more sweet than you might expect. Sweet corn gets pureed with all kinds of cheeses along with some fresh basil, and then in the end is layered with lasagna noodles and Provolone cheese (which, while it might sound like excess cheese, is really necessary for balancing out the sweetness of the filling). And actually, I cut the richness of this recipe down significantly. The original recipe calls for things like heavy cream and almost double the cheese, but I didn’t feel like I was missing anything in my version. The filling to pasta ratio might not be as substantial, but it was still delicious and creamy and didn’t make me feel like dairy cow afterwards.
We had this for dinner two nights, but really it seems like it would be the perfect luncheon dish (to replace all that chicken salad you usually have that I am not at all a fan of). It has the perfect fresh flavor, but is still rich for a special occasion. Not that that means you can’t make it for dinner as well. Now, if only I still had some in my fridge as we go through that whole back from traveling/what does my normal life look like? thing.
Sweet Corn and Mascarpone Lasagna
adapted from Giada de Laurentiis
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Wait Time: 10 minutes
10-12 lasagna sheets*
2 cups fresh (or frozen but thawed) corn (about 3-4 ears)
1/3 cup half and half
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup (4 oz.) mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup (3 oz. total) pecorino romano
1 teaspoon lemon zest
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup basil leaves, chopped
3/4 cups (3 oz.) shredded provolone
Olive oil for drizzling
Nonstick cooking spray
1. Spray small baking pan (about 7 x 11) with non stick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Then drain and set aside.
3. While the pasta is cooking, combine corn, half and half, and garlic in a food processor. Blend until chunky. Then add the mascarpone, ½ cup Pecorino Romano, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Blend until combined (the mixture should be smoother, but the corn will still add some texture). Add the basil and blend until just combined.
4. In the baking pan, place a single layer of lasagna sheets in the bottom. Spoon 1/3 of the filling over the pasta. Top with ½ of the Provolone. Add another layer pasta sheets, then 1/3 of the filling, and then the remaining Provolone. Top with the remaining pasta, then the remaining filling, and then sprinkle with ¼ cup Pecorino Romano. Drizzle the top lightly with olive oil.
5. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown on top. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
*Depending on the shape of your particular pan.