Spinach Artichoke & Crab Lasagne

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by Holly on December 16, 2012

If you are planning on gathering with loved ones over the holidays you’re probably also wondering about what to feed them. You may be hosting, or maybe you’ll be a guest who is wondering how you can help or what you can bring. Let’s talk about what I like to think of as the mother of all ‘casserole’ dishes – lasagne!

Can any savory dish that comes out of an oven be more well rounded and perfect? Honestly, I don’t really think so!

spinach artichoke crab lasagne pan - phemomenon.com

You may be thinking that there is something mysterious about building a pan of lasagne or that it’s too hard or too complicated and should be left to the cute little Italian Nonna’s (and who doesn’t wish we had one of those in our family? I know I wish I did too!).

I don’t know how, where or why the myth of lasagne being an intimidating dish has come from, but I know so many people who have never even considered making their own, let alone branching out with their flavors and fillings.

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Don’t get me wrong. I have a sincere love of a good, classic lasagne like the one above from Barilla’s Lasagne recipe page too. It’s my favorite. But I also love to put this ‘white’ lasagne into the rotation.

Barilla LogoI was invited this week to share with you a recipe using Barilla Lasagne and this was the easiest post to say yes to for me ever. I already use Barilla’s noodles and have for years. What you may not be aware of is that in addition to the usual pasta shapes, they also have a whole grain line of pastas that are fantastic and also smaller sized shapes that are perfect for the kiddos.

One of my favorite pasta options from Barilla is actually their Oven Ready Lasagne. They have a Classic Lasagne box as well, you know with the noodles with the curly/wavy edges that you boil and assemble, but the Oven Ready Lasagne has a place near and dear to my heart. You make your sauce (or use one of Barilla’s prepared sauces) and all you have to do to get the pasta ready to assemble in your lasagne is OPEN THE BOX. That’s it. No boiling. No counter space for cooling noodles. No slightly singed fingertips if you’re in a hurry or impatient and try to layer with hot noodles. Just open the box and lay out the thinly, flat, homemade style rolled sheets of lasagne.

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In my book it just doesn’t get any easier than that. I think it’s why this Spinach Artichoke & Crab Lasagne recipe is one of my absolute favorites. I’ve been making this recipe for several years now (I know, I’m a jerk for not sharing it before now! Believe me, I’ve meant to but good intentions and all that! Sorry!).

I usually make the recipe with leftover shredded roast chicken, but for the holidays I wanted to make this even more special and really dress it up like everyone’s favorite standby appetizer.

So, this is a decadent twofer. You get your favorite Spinach Artichoke & Crab dip in dinner ready form as a lasagne. Incidentally, the recipe makes enough for TWO pans of lasagne so you can easily make this to feed a crowd, or you can freeze a pan for later, or you can even just toss the leftover filling into a bowl to use warmed up as a chip dip, spread and broil on bread, or whatever your little heart desires.

If you like a lasagne that is a bit more cheesy feel free to sprinkle a bit more cheese in between the layers on top of the filling each time. I like mine pasta heavy with the layers of filling and a nice golden crust of cheese on top. Lasagne is a pretty forgiving dish, so have fun and play around with how much filling you want in between your pasta layers. There is plenty of filling for it for one pan, then the remaining filling can be kept for a smaller dip dish. It’s whatever. Do what you like. If you aren’t a crab fan or are looking for a vegetarian option just leave the crab out and you’ve got that covered too. Done and done.

This recipe isn’t complicated or difficult to make in the least. I’m going to tell you a word and you may or may not think ‘too hard!’ – I’m hear to tell you, it’s just not. The sauce for the recipe is based on a béchamel, which is something we should all know how to make anyway and not be afraid of.

Let’s break it down. In this case it involves melting butter in a pan, adding some finely minced garlic and shallot, whisking in some flour, cooking that for a couple minutes, adding some milk and whisking and cooking that for a few minutes until it’s thickened a bit. Season with some salt and pepper, whisk. Turn off the heat, add some shredded cheese, let it melt while stirring together to smooth. That’s the béchamel (which usually leaves out the shallot and garlic, but I like it in the sauce here).

spinach artichoke crab lasagne - phemomenon.com

After that making the filling involves stirring in some chopped spinach (from a bag from the freezer that was thawed and drained), stirring in some chopped marinated artichokes (from a jar, drained and chopped), then stirring in some drained, rinsed canned crab meat (hey, I’m landlocked so I figure it’s fresher and it’s more inexpensive and just as good, if not better, in this dish (idea from my darling BFF Krista – thanks love!)).

BONUS? Other than the baking dish the lasagne is assembled in and either a cutting board or food processor bowl, that’s one whole pan to make this entire meal. Yeah. Who doesn’t need to have a dish like this in their back pocket during the holidays? Plus, let’s not forget the fact that you can make a batch of the filling and make it do double duty on another night as an appetizer (or dare I suggest, at a separate party even!).

Incidentally, this makes 9 cups of filling. Two pans uses 8 cups… that extra cup may or may not have been for testing the seasoning and flavors in a separate bowl with some chips as a snack for the cook. Should you not need to ‘test’ so much of the filling, feel free to just add a bit more to your saucy layers.

I’ll never tell either way.

It’s the recipe that just keeps on giving!

Happy Holidays!

Want to know more about Barilla or connect with them online?

spinach artichoke lasagne pan front - phemomenon.com

Disclaimer: I am part of the Mom It Forward blogger network. Mom It Forward and Barilla partnered in support of this campaign. Barilla compensated me for participation in this campaign. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

About Barilla

Barilla, originally established in 1877 by the Barilla family as a bread and pasta shop in Parma, Italy, ranks as one of today’s top Italian food groups. Barilla leads in the global pasta business, the pasta sauces business in continental Europe, the bakery products business in Italy and the crisp bread business in Scandinavia. Barilla owns 43 production sites including 13 in Italy and one in the U.S.. – it’s Ames, Iowa plant produces most of the Barilla pasta sold in the United States. Every year, about 2,500,000 tons of food products under the brands of Barilla, Mulino Bianco, Voiello, Pavesi, Academia Barilla, Wasa, Harrys (France and Russia), Lieken Urkorn and Golden Toast (Germany), Misko (Greece), Filiz (Turkey), Yemina and Vesta (Mexico), are featured on dining tables all over the world.

Still family owned today, Barilla has become one of the world’s most esteemed food companies and is recognized worldwide as a symbol of Italian know-how by respecting its longstanding traditional principles and values, considering employees a fundamental asset and developing leading-edge production systems.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Si January 8, 2013 at 7:21 am

Yummy! You are a riot. I especially love your anatomy diagram 🙂 hope you are well and enjoying your cute family. I love this no cook pasta as well. It tastes more like home made than the boil type to me. And I like the thinner sheets. I’m pinning this one. Thanks holly!

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