Saturday, October 30, 2010

Vegetable Lasagna

As I’ve mentioned many times, lasagna is my absolute favorite food. All of its cheesy, meaty, tomato-y goodness – mmm! Growing up my standard birthday dinner consisted of my Mama’s homemade lasagna, Caesar salad and cheesecake.

Since I began cooking on my own I’ve never made lasagna the same way more than once. I throw together whatever I have on hand and make it work. Brent had asked for vegetable lasagna last weekend and the very first thing we saw as we entered Central Market was these one-balled squash. I hadn’t seen anything like them before and I was completely giddy to make this lasagna with them. They are 3-4 inches in diameter and look like a small pumpkin. Maybe next time I find them I’ll try squash chips with them.

Like most things I make, this recipe is completely versatile. You could use whatever veggies you had on hand and I think especially eggplant would be great.

Vegetable Lasagna
Yield: 12 servings

1lb whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions
2 one-balled squash (or 4 regular squash)
1 Vidalia onion
10oz baby spinach
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cup tomato sauce (I used leftovers from the meatball recipe)
16oz ricotta cheese
Zest and juice from ½ a lemon
1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
2 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
2 cups grated Italian cheese blend
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 9”x13” lasagna pan with cooking spray and set to the side.

Using a mandolin slicer with a thin setting, slice your squash (conversely use a knife and slice 1/16thick). Then switch to the ultra thin blade and slice your onion (or, using a knife, slice paper thin).

In a large skillet heated to medium-high heat and drizzled with EVOO, sauté your onion and garlic for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add in your spinach, cover and let steam for 2 minutes. Remove lid, stir, recover and remove from heat. Let sit about 5 minutes or until spinach has wilted.

In a large mixing bowl, combine your ricotta cheese, lemon zest & juice, salt & pepper and Italian seasoning. Stir to incorporate. Add in 2 cups grated Italian cheese blend and stir to combine.

To begin layering your lasagna, ladle ¼ of your tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan, and top with noodles to cover – approximately 3. Drop 1/3 of your ricotta cheese mixture on top of noodles and spread as best you can. Top with 1/3 of your squash slices, and then 1/3 of your spinach and onion mixture. Drizzle another ¼ of your tomato sauce over the spinach and onion. Repeat the layers two more times, ending with tomato sauce. Top with 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese.

Bake in preheated oven on a cookie sheet for 45 minutes, or until lasagna is bubbly and cheeses have browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack for 20 minutes before serving.

Enjoy! KC

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