Artichoke-Basil Lasagna

PREP: 45 minutes BAKE: 40 minutes STAND: 15 minutes OVEN: 350°F MAKES 8 servings

9 dried whole grain lasagna noodles

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 8- or 9-ounce packages frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and well drained

1⁄4 cup pine nuts

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 15-ounce carton light ricotta cheese

11⁄2 cups reduced-fat shredded Italian cheese blend or part-skim mozzarella cheese (6 ounces)

1 cup snipped fresh basil or 4 teaspoons dried basil, crushed

1 egg

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

1 cup chicken-flavored vegetable broth

1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups fat-free milk

Chopped fresh tomato (optional)

Snipped fresh parsley (optional)

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain in colander. Rinse with cold water; drain again. Place noodles in a single layer on a sheet of foil; set aside.

2 In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add artichokes, pine nuts, and garlic; cook about 5 minutes or until artichokes, nuts, and garlic start to brown, stirring frequently. Transfer to a large bowl.

3 Add ricotta cheese, 1⁄2 cup of the Italian cheese blend, 1⁄2 cup of the fresh basil or 1 tablespoon of the dried basil, the egg, and salt; stir to combine.

4 For sauce, in a medium saucepan whisk together broth and flour until smooth. Stir in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until sauce is slightly thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in the remaining 1⁄2 cup fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil.

5 Spread 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Top with one-third of the cooked lasagna noodles. Spread with one-third of the ricotta mixture, then one-third of the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with 1⁄3 cup of the remaining Italian blend cheese. Repeat layers twice, beginning with the lasagna noodles and ending with the Italian blend cheese.

6 Bake, uncovered, about 40 minutes or until heated through and top is lightly brown. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. If desired, top with tomato and parsley.

PER SERVING: 329 cal., 12 g total fat (5 g sat. fat), 52 mg chol., 443 mg sodium, 35 g carb., 7 g fiber, 21 g pro.