|Heirloom LA’s version of the lasagna cupcake|
I started off with an appetizer. Well, appetizer, or small meal, or sandwich replacement. Basically, I had been reading raves about the Cupcake lasagna creations from Heirloom LA, and I became obsessed with trying to recreate them.
For a wedding, these are perfect. They can be served on a buffet, plated, or even tray-passed. They are substantial on a day when a fair amount of imbibing will take place, they hold their heat very well, and you can easily put together vegetarian and carnivorous versions in the same pan. The variations are endless. Grab whatever produce is in season (summer squash, baby spinach, sweet corn, broccoli), add some great proteins (braised short rib? Veal shank? Mushroom ragout?) and smother in cheeses.
|My adorable lasagnettes, fresh from the oven|
For my test, I put together a spinach and turkey sausage version. From the beginning, I was pretty sure that I should not skimp on the béchamel.
It’s an incredibly tough job, but the test cake also makes a great Sunday breakfast….
Try as you might, you will not find an official cupcake lasagna recipe from Heirloom LA posted anywhere on the interwebs. There are many others, (some even using won-ton wrappers rather than pasta noodles). The main question is ‘how do you actually fold the lasagna noodles into the perfect little pouches?’The trick is to be generous with the non-stick cooking spray, and then stop worrying about it. They’re supposed to look a little rustic.
Makes 11 lasagn-ettes.
(11 is strange, I know, the limiting factor here is the noodles I used. the fillings are enough for 12-ish.)
2 cups Bechamel
1 cup Fontina (or Mozzarella, or other melty cheese)
1 cup Parmiggiano-Reggiano (or Asiago, Romano, any hard, salty cheese will do)
1 cup Ricotta (for a sweet corn or butternut squash version, Mascarpone would also be great!)
10 oz. spinach (if using frozen, thaw and drain well before using)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt & pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs butter
1 lb sweet italian turkey sausage
1 box Lasagna noodles
Make the bechamel and keep warm. Cook the turkey sausage until browned and just cooked through. Cover and keep warm. Saute the garlic in a pan with the butter and olive oil, add the spinach and cook until just wilted. Drain any excess water from the spinach pan and mix spinach with ricotta cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and add the pinch of nutmeg. Prepare the pasta noodles according package directions (for the no-cook noodles, soften in warm water). Cut noodles into 3 inch squares.
|anatomy of a cupcake lasagna|
Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray and lay in three squares of pasta, fanning them so they cover all sides of the tine. Layer each lasagna first with a tablespoon of bechamel, followed by turkey, then fontina, spinach mix, bechamel, and a final layer of fontina. Fold the ends of the noodles over the top of the lasagna, seal the tops with another tablespoon of bechamel, then sprinkle on a generous haystack of parmesan cheese.
Bake in a 375 degree oven until browned and bubbly.