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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Vegetarian Lasagne

I have a beautiful photo of the lasagne I served last night (the one I cooked on Sunday). Sadly, though the photo was beautiful, the lasagne tasted like butt. Moral of the story? When a Bolognese sauce calls for pancetta, it might be a good idea to use pancetta. German proscuitto seasoned with juniper berries will yield a lasagne that tastes like it was soaked in gin. (Yet, the damn thing is still sitting my refrigerator because I just can't bring myself to throw out a giant pan of lasagne.)

Next time I'm going to stick with what I know. And what I know is how to make a fabulous vegetarian lasagne. Bon Appetit:

Vegetarian Lasagne

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small package mushrooms, chopped
1/2 bag baby spinach
salt and pepper
1 32 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes (whole or crushed)
1 16 oz. tub ricotta
2 eggs
4 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
grated Parmigiano Reggiano
one box Barilla oven ready lasagne

Heat a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic. Saute until fragrant (a few seconds). Add mushrooms and spinach. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the spinach is completely wilted and the mushrooms have released their juices.  Add the tomatoes (if using whole, be sure to crush them up first with a fork, or better yet, your hands). Lower heat to low and let cook for up to an hour.

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, eggs and half of the mozzarella. You can also add some grated Parmigiano if you like. Set aside.

Cover the bottom of a 9x13 inch Pyrex with about a cup of the sauce. Place four lasagne noodles over the sauce. Evenly spread about half of the ricotta cheese mixture over the noodles. Top the cheese with another cup of sauce. Place another four noodles over the sauce. Spread on the remainder of the ricotta and another cup of sauce. Top with another four noodles, another cup of sauce and about a cup of the mozzarella. Place the final four noodles over the cheese and cover with the remainder of the sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining cup of mozzarella and a healthy grating of Parmigiano.

Baked, covered with foil in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 60 minutes. Remove foil and cook for another five minutes to melt the cheese. Let the lasagne stand outside of the oven for about 15 minutes so that it doesn't fall apart when you cut it.

Notes: I like this type of pasta because it utilizes the entire box. Also, it is flat, which appeals to my aesthetics. It's also important to note that my order of layering is basically random. Your main goal is to use up all of the ingredients. The only set rules are to start with sauce and end with cheese. Finally, please feel free to rif on this recipe. Got some zucchini? Throw it in the sauce! Hate mushrooms? Leave 'em out! It's very flexible.


(Oh, you can freeze this before and/or after cooking it.)


Barilla is one of my clients which is why I tried this lasagne. BUT, it's amazing stuff, and I would not recommend it if I didn't truly like it.


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