The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Columns

April 26, 2014

COOKING WITH SIMON: Creamy lasagna with fresh vegetables

PALESTINE — The vegetables in the raised garden beds are showing signs of life. They’re slowly pushing up towards the sunshine and barring another frost or bug attacks we should have some great vegetables and herbs for the restaurant this year.

My friend at Iron Gate Feed Store has been a great help for sourcing organic plants and seeds, and helping with any questions I have.

Because of all the new growth and flowers, spring is one of my favorite times. The sun is warm, the grapevines are starting to grow and little seedlings are pushing through the ground. Soon the farmers markets will be open and we’ll have a whole crop of summer vegetables.

When it comes to recipes, of course, salads come to mind first and with so many fresh ingredients to choose from it’s hard to decide which ones to make.

But what’s also great is vegetable lasagna. It’s something I make that receives a lot of requests. Last Monday, it was hit at Aggie Muster and everyone loves how it is packed with so many fresh vegetables.

This lasagna is made with a creamy white ricotta sauce and layered with sliced chicken breast and vegetables. The moist chicken and velvety sauce make a wonderful combination.

Red, yellow or orange bell peppers mixed with purple onions, peas, spinach, chopped tomatoes and mushrooms make a colorful addition to the stark white of the sauce, cheese and lasagna noodles. It is a beautiful presentation for any occasion.

The key to a creamy sauce is making your own white sauce instead of using a packaged mix or jar of sauce. It is quick and easy to make yourself and so much better for you. Also the pure flavor of whole, natural ingredients is what will make your cooking stand out above the rest.

Your guests, just as mine, will rave about how good it tastes.

Simon Webster is the Executive Chef of Sabor a Pasion Country House & Bistro a multi-faceted dining destination just outside Palestine. For more information go to www.saborapasion.com or call 903-729-9500.

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