Weekly Winner:  Lasagna stripped bare and a bit boozy

I dearly love lasagna.  Any kind of lasagna. You can put sausage, ground beef or even chicken in it. It lends itself to a myriad of vegetables and really any type of cheese you can imagine. But, what if you stripped it bare?  No meat, no veggies, no distractions. Just layer after layer of pasta sheets bathed in a simple bechamel that’s been fortified (literally and figuratively) with some booze (in this case Marsala). What happens then?  Magic, I tell ya.  Sheer and utter magic.

I pulled this recipe for Lasagna in Bianco ages ago from Gourmet Magazine (just the fact that there was a Gourmet Magazine gives you a hint as to how long ago).  I have made this before but for whatever reason, it did not make it as a Weekly Winner.  All I can say is that must have been one heck of a week meal-wise if something else beat this out. And yes, I realize it does have Parmesan cheese in it, but compared to most lasagnas, not much and most of it is on the top.

You’ll have to excuse the picture.  Apparently when you strip a lasagna of everything that is not beige it does lack something in photographic appeal.  But trust me, it lacks nothing in pure pasta wonderfulness.

Lasagna in Bianco

Serves 6

Ingredients:

3/4 cup minced shallots (about 6)

8 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

3 3/4 cups whole milk

1 cup rich chicken stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup dry Marsala

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 pound grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup), divided

12 (7- by 3-inch) no-boil egg lasagna sheets

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Cook shallots in butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes. Add flour and cook over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, 3 minutes. Add nutmeg, then slowly whisk in milk and stock. Bring to a boil, whisking, then simmer, stirring occasionally, just until sauce lightly coats back of spoon, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool to warm, stirring occasionally. Stir in eggs, Marsala, sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 cup cheese.

Spread about 1 1/4 cups sauce over bottom of an 11- by 8-inch baking dish. Cover with a layer of 3 lasagna sheets. Repeat layering 3 more times, then top with remaining sauce and remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake, uncovered, until browned, 45 to 55 minutes.

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