Friday, September 28, 2012

Vegetable Lasagna

This isn't much different than the regular lasagna I already posted, except you're using vegetables instead of ground beef and it's a lot bigger.  This was my contribution to the choir's Rosh Hashanah dinner, so I used the biggest pan that fit in my oven.  Ended up with a lot of leftovers.  A LOT of leftovers.  I meant to take a photo of the whole dinner spread, which would have fed about twice the number we had.  Feel free to cut this recipe in half, and you'll still get at least 6 servings.

One great discovery was that the soft-sided cooler I use to transport foods can also handle hot items.  I wrapped the hot casserole in a bath towel before putting it in the cooler, so it wouldn't damage the sides.  When I got to temple an hour and a half later, I still needed oven mitts to pick it up.  This is the same cooler that kept ice cream frozen solid for almost an hour with only two blue-ice packs.  If anyone is interested, the company is called California Innovations.

15 lasagne noodles
1 (24 oz) jar of chunky vegetable pasta sauce
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tb olive oil
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 medium eggplant, cut in 1/2" dice
1/2 lb portobello mushrooms, cut in 1/2" dice
2 large carrots, peeled and cut bite-sized
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 28.5 oz container ricotta cheese
2 eggs
8 oz shredded mozzarella

1.  Bring at least a gallon of water to a boil in a large pot.  Cook noodles according to package directions.  Drain, rinse, and keep in a small amount of water to keep soft.

2.  You can really make the filling while step 1 is in the works.  In a large skillet, sauté onions in oil until tender.  Add garlic and tomatoes.  Add carrot and eggplant and bring the whole thing to a simmer. Add Italian seasoning and cook until carrots are soft and eggplant is mostly cooked.  Add mushrooms and cook until tender.  Remove from heat.

3.  In a bowl, lightly beat eggs.  Add ricotta and combine thoroughly.

4.  For the assembly, pour about 1/2 C of the pasta sauce on the bottom of a 10" x 15" casserole.  Layer on the first 5 noodles, four going the long way and the fifth to make up the end.  Overlap slightly.  Add half of the vegetable mix, followed by half of the ricotta.

5.  For layer 2, you can get away with only 4 noodles if one of them broke or shredded.  Follow with remaining cooked veggies, followed by the rest of the ricotta.

6.  To top, use remaining noodles.  Pour the rest of the jar of pasta sauce on top.  At this point, you can either refrigerate as a do-ahead or preheat oven to 350º.

7.  Cook lasagna for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Return to oven and cook an additional 15 minutes, until cheese is melted.  Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Note: unlike a meat-based lasagna, there isn't a lot of fat to hold this one together.  Be very careful when cutting and serving.

Serves about 12 if it's the only entrée on the table, a small army as a side dish

Difficulty rating  :)

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