Thursday, April 05, 2007

Mazzagne Al Pesto (& Spinach)

Mazzagne Al Pesto
(Matzo Lasagna With Pesto Sauce)

Original source: Adapted from Classic Cuisine of Italian Jews IIby Edda Servi Machlin
Current source: "Seder Recipes" HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 4/16/97

Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes
Rest time: 5 minutes

Serves 4 -6 (with a salad)

½ cup Pesto (this time I bought some ready made)
2-3 cups baby spinach, wilted and drained
1 small clove garlic, minced
Salt & pepper to taste
¼ cup unsalted butter
6 tbsp Passover cake meal
1 cup hot milk (I heated it in a small pot while I was sautéing the spinach and preparing the sauce)
1 cup ricotta cheese (I used cottage cheese because I was in a hurry and the store near me didn’t have ricotta – it still worked)
3 matzo sheets (NOT egg matzo, it will become very mushy)
1 cup milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

2. In the meantime, melt a little butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and spinach. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until you get that wonderful garlic aroma. Remove from pan and set the spinach aside in a bowl.

3. In the same medium saucepan, melt the ¼ cup of butter and cook the cake meal for 2 minutes or so, stirring frequently. Add the hot milk all at once and cook for another 2 minutes or so, whisking briskly (think Béchamel sauce). Add the ricotta and simmer, stirring until the ricotta is almost completely melted. The shop near me didn’t have ricotta so I used cottage cheese, drained well. You could still see bits of the cheese in the sauce, but it tasted yummy anyway.

4. Coat the bottom of a deep 8-inch-square oven-proof dish with 1 tbsp or so of pesto.

5. Make alternate layers of uncooked matzo, pesto sauce and dollops of cheese & spinach sauce. I used three sheets of matzo (3 layers), ending with the cheesy sauce. Spread the pesto and the sauce evenly over the top of each matzo slice.

6. Pour the remaining 1 cup milk over top. Cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbling. Let it rest, uncovered for 5 minutes before cutting into squares.

Serve immediately with salad.

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Gattina said...

Ruth, this mazzagne is beautiful! Pasta sheet (or matzo sheets) are only a framework for me, I know I'll crazily digging those cheese and spinach =)

Sheila said...

i made this (using homemade pesto). it took awhile, but it was delicious!