Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ashby Inn and Beet Lasagna

The view from our room

This past weekend, Scott and I had a little romantic weekend away at the Ashby Inn and Restaurant in Paris, VA.  We have wanted to go there ever since we attended Cochon 555 last a spring, an event that celebrates heritage pork and great chefs.  Chef Tarver King made some of the best things we had at Cochon, but with the restaurant being an hour and a half away, and knowing we would want to do the tasting menu with wine pairings, we knew it wouldn’t be a good idea to go for just the evening, so we decided to stay for a whole weekend and get away from the stress of everyday life.

We headed out Friday afternoon, and checked into the Ashy Inn.  We were staying in the School house, in the Lafayette room.  It was a beautifully appointed room, with a view of the hills and a wood-burning fireplace.  We headed out to the Hunter’s Head for dinner that evening, which is related to Ayrshire Farm.  Ayrshire Farm supplies heritage meat and eggs to many stores and restaurants in the Virginia, DC and Maryland Area, and the owner is a great supporter of Alley Cat Rescue.

A healthy, well balance lunch
On Saturday, I arranged for Scott and I have to a hot stone couples massage, which was a blissful experience.  After we stopped in to the Farmstore, also related to Ayrshire farm, and each had a maple glazed bacon covered donut, which I consider a very well balanced lunch.  Not sure if anyone else would agree.  We then walked around Middleburg, a beautiful town full of antique shops and interesting boutiques, and stopped by Chrysalis Vineyards for a wine tasting. 

That evening was our dinner at Ashby.  It was very nice to be staying two doors down, so no one had to drive to dinner.  Dinner was wonderful, and everything I had hoped for.  Well thought out, well executed dishes with a splash of fun, like when we cooked our own slices of beef on a rock heated up to 400 degrees, or the “hot and cold cider” accompanied by dry ice that had water poured over it which led to fog rolling over the table.

The first dish of the evening, a beet puree with goat cheese, is what inspired the beet lasagna I then made for dinner on Sunday evening when we got home. 

Beet & Goat Cheese Lasagna
Makes 6 servings

2 pounds beets
16 ounces goat cheese
15 ounces ricotta (get the best kind you can)
½ cup milk
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
½ onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh Lasagna sheets
Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Boil beets for 45 minutes until soft, then peel (skins should slip right off).  Process in the food processor with about half of the goat cheese and the milk, some salt and pepper until smooth.

In the meantime, sauté the onion and mushrooms until brown, then add the garlic.  Continue to cook for one or two minutes until fragrant.

Take the ricotta mixture and the rest of the goat cheese and microwave for about a minute, then mix together with some salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a square baking dish, coat the bottom with olive oil, then put one layer of lasagna noodles.  I don’t bother to pre-cook the fresh lasagna noodles from Whole Foods, the moisture in the filling will cook them as they bake.

Take half of the beet mixture, and layer that over the first layer of noodles.  Put another layer of noodles, then half the ricotta/goat cheese mixture and spread over that layer.  Spread the mushroom/onion mixture over the ricotta/goat cheese mixture, then top with another layer of noodles.  Layer the rest of the beet mixture on top, then another layer of noodles.  Finish with the rest of the ricotta/goat cheese mixture, then shred some Parmesan on top.  Bake for about 30 minutes, then switch oven to broil and broil until the top is browned.  Let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

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