Artichokes help define Lasagna Carciofi

Mary Gainey of West Ashley was reading a book that made mention of lasagna “carciofi,” which is lasagna with artichokes. We wondered if any readers had a recipe.

Maria Johnson of Goose Creek shared her version of this dish. Traditionally, Lasagna ai Carciofi is prepared with a bechamel, or white sauce. Instead, Maria's recipe calls for a blend of ricotta cheese and Miracle Whip. Cooked chicken is an add-in to her dish as well.

Ingredients 12 lasagna noodles

2 eggs, beaten 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese

1 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 teaspoon ground thyme Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups cooked, chopped chicken (3 or 4 breasts, skin removed)

¼ cup chopped green onion 1 (14-ounce) can artichokes, drained and chopped

2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Directions Spray 13x9-inch baking pan with nonstick spray.

Cook noodles as directed; drain well.

Beat eggs into a large bowl. Add all ingredients except the shredded Jack cheese. Mix well.

Layer 1/3 noodles, 1/3 chicken mixture and top with 1/3 Jack cheese. Repeat layers. Cover with foil, bake in 350-degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

Sharon Cook of Charleston is pretty vigilant about lightening up comfort food faves and passes along a recipe from time to time. Here is a new one.

She writes, “Low-fat ricotta cheese can ease your conscience about fat content and considerably lightens the load and the cost when making macaroni and cheese.

Serves 4 to 6 as entree or 6 to 8 as side dish

Ingredients 1 pound whole-grain pasta (or your favorite pasta)

1 tablespoon sea salt 2 cups low-fat ricotta cheese

1 cup shredded cheddar, swiss, or combination of your favorite cheese(s); reserve 1/4 cup cheese for topping

1 tablespoon smoked paprika 1 teaspoon freshly cracked blacked pepper

1 teaspoon granulated garlic Directions

Add 1 tablespoon sea salt to the amount of pasta water called for on the package directions. Bring water to a boil and cook pasta no more than 3 minutes. (Pasta will finish cooking in oven.) Reserve pasta cooking liquid.

In large mixing bowl, combine hot, cooked pasta and all other ingredients. Depending on humidity and denseness of pasta, you may need to add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of the reserved pasta cooking liquid to this mixture. It should be thick but easily pourable. Pour into glass 9x13-inch baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. (You also can put 3 heaping tablespoons of mixture in prepared muffin cups if you want to control portion size or serve more people.) Sprinkle reserved cheese over the top of pasta and cheese mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbling around the edges.

This can be frozen prior to baking in oven. Just make sure to sprinkle cheese on top prior to baking.

1 cup fennel, thinly sliced and sauteed until translucent

1 cup fresh crab meat or lobster

1 pound broccoli or cauliflower florets, steamed until tender and finely chopped

1-pound bag broccoli slaw 1 pound summer yellow squash or zucchini, finely diced

4 large onions, thinly sliced, sauteed in equal parts olive oil and butter until caramelized.

During Restaurant Week in January, Jean Henderson ate at 17 North Restaurant in Mount Pleasant. She very much liked the grilled asparagus with egg and has wanted the recipe ever since. The sauce made the dish, she says.

Louise Turrentine of Johns Island has pleasant memories of “the-to-die-for chocolate layer cake at the now-closed Brewer's Bistro restaurant on Daniel Island. It was heavenly, decadent moist and dark chocolate goodness. There wasn't anything overly fancy about it, but it was amazing.” Anyone have any leads to the former owners or bakers there?

Still looking: Sharon Cook of Charleston writes, “When I worked with some foreign students from Central America, they made a delicious non-alcoholic smoothie type beverage that featured cantaloupe and milk. I think they also made a simple syrup by cooking pineapple rind with sugar and water and then added that to the beverage mix. Would you see if any of your readers are familiar with the recipe?”

If there's a recipe you've lost, have memories of or a dish you are just wondering about, let us know. Email Food Editor Teresa Taylor at food@postandcourier.com.