Adapted from chef John Imbriolo at Naples 45 NY.
Fresh Parsley tends to be infested with aphids, thrips and other insects. Please check “Special Instructions” below for instructions on checking fresh herbs for insect infestation.
Canned or jarred artichokes need a reliable hechsher (kosher symbol on the label) as they may present more than one Kashruth concern. They may not be used even if one were to check them scrupulously for insects.
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper
2 pounds lasagna sheets
2 (12-oz.) cans artichoke hearts
2 (12-oz.) containers ricotta cheese
2 cups grated Romano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups bechamel sauce (above)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
4 cups shredded mozzarella, preferably fresh
For sauce: Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and bay leaf. Slowly add flour to form a thick paste, and then add milk to thin it. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Set aside.
Place lasagna sheets in a pot of boiling water for several seconds, then cool in ice water. Set aside. Drain artichoke hearts in a colander and season with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 375.
Blend ricotta and Romano cheeses, bechamel sauce, eggs and parsley in a mixing bowl. Layer bottom of a 4-quart, ovenproof lasagna pan with pasta sheets. Lightly coat pasta with ricotta mixture, top with artichokes and sprinkle the top with mozzarella. Repeat the layers until all the ricotta mixture is gone (about four times). Bake, uncovered for 45 minutes.
Fresh Parsley and other herbs (including basil, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme) are often used as spices or garnishing. Aphids, thrips and other insects may often be found on the leaves and stems of these herbs. Insects tend to nestle in the crevices between the leaves and branches of herbs. These insects can curl up and stick to the leaf once they come in contact with water.
Curly leaf parsley is very difficult to check. It is therefore recommended that only flat leaf parsley be used.
Vegetable spinners, power hoses, and light boxes are not always available in the home. We therefore recommend the following alternate procedure.
Recommendation: In order to determine if a particular bunch of herbs is infested prior to washing, bang it several times over a white cloth. This is most important when checking oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme. If only one or two insects are found, proceed with the steps below. If three or more insects are detected in a particular bunch of herbs, it should not be used.
1. Soak herbs in a solution of cold water and vegetable wash. The proper amount of vegetable wash has been added when some bubbles are observed in the water. (In the absence of vegetable wash, several drops of concentrated non-scented liquid detergent may be used. However, for health reasons, thoroughly rinse off the soapy solution.)
2. Agitate the herbs in the soapy water, in order to loosen the sticking excretion of the bugs.
3. Using a heavy stream of water, thoroughly wash off the soap and other foreign matter from the herbs.
4. Check both sides of each leaf under direct light.
5. If one or two insects are found, rewash the herbs.
6. If any insects are found after repeating the agitation process twice, the entire bunch must be discarded.