Monday, March 1, 2010

Sunday Dinner: Vegetarian Lasagna

This is a shout-out to my Vegetarian bffs, Kaycee and Kara.

Last week I had the brilliant idea that I would make a Vegetarian Lasagna for Sunday Dinner. I didn't have a recipe in mind but I figured I would just give it a google and some delightful recipe would pop up on my screen. Wrong! Foolish me... I forgot that you can't go wrong when you combine vegetables, pasta, tomato sauce, and lots of cheese in the oven. So, I pulled from a couple different resources and came up with my own recipe! I had never made a lasagna before... it was quite the process, but it certainly wasn't hard! Just give yourself a few hours.

Vegetarian Lasagna:
2 medium Eggplants, peeled and sliced
2 medium zucchinis, peeled and sliced
2 large red peppers, quartered
2 lbs ricotta cheese
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/2 cup chopped basil (divided)
1 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (divided)
12 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
12 whole wheat lasagna noodles
Quick Tomato Sauce*

1. Toss Eggplant with 1 tsp salt and let drain in a colander for 45 minutes, then pat dry with paper towels.

2. Roast the veggies! Preheat oven to 375. Brush 3 baking sheets with olive oil. On one, place the eggplant, the other the zucchini (and some eggplant, you'll have more of this), and the red pepper on the last one, skin side up. Give the eggplant and zucchini a drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, then roast these 2 vegetables for around a half hour in the oven until they're tender. The red peppers go down in the broiler. Keep them there until the skin is black all over (don't forget to keep checking), then place them directly into a plastic bag and let them steam (sealed) for around 20 minutes. Then, peel the blackened skin off the peppers.

3. While the veggies are roasting, make your tomato sauce. I used Emily's "Quick Tomato Sauce" from her Eggplant Parmesan, and I wasn't sorry!
3 TBSP olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
3 TBSP fresh basil, chopped fine
1/4 tsp sugar

Saute the garlic in the olive oil on medium-low heat for about 2 minutes until fragrant but not brown. Pour in both cans of tomatoes, stir to combine, then bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, until it thickens slightly. Stir in the basil and sugar and remove from heat.

4. Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and a touch of olive oil and cook until al dente, then drain and leave in a colander until you're ready to use.

5. Make the ricotta cheese mixture. Combine the ricotta, half the parmesan, the shallots, and half the basil in a bowl. Mix until well combined.

6. Assemble the lasagna! Lightly grease a 13 x 9 glass pan with olive oil, then spread a layer of the tomato sauce. Lay down one layer of noodles, then spread a layer of the ricotta cheese mixture. Shingle 2-3 rows of eggplant, making an even layer, then ladle more sauce evenly on top. Next is another layer of noodles, then repeat with the ricotta. Place the zucchini evenly, then lay the roasted pepper on top. More sauce, then noodles, then sauce, then make a layer of mozzarella, then sprinkle generously with shredded parmesan!

7. Bake, covered with foil, for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake until the cheese is beginning to brown and the edges get a little crispy, about another 15 mins.

Let cool for at least 10-15 before you slice into this bad boy. Enjoy with a delightful side salad (like the Tarragon Artichoke salad Kaycee made in the picture!)

Time intensive, yes, but your guests will love you for making this! And you'll definitely have left-overs.


Julia said...

Mmm, this sounds fabulous & delish!

Emily Y. said...

oh, you know i'm going to be making this sometime very soon! i'm all about the veggie entrees these days. glad you liked the tomato sauce!

Suzanne said...

mmm I want this right now...

mindy said...

this sounds AWESOME!

Jessica said...

Indeed, how could a lasagna go wrong? I'm glad to read that you learned this important life lesson.

(Dude - you follow the hummus blog but you don't follow mine? Hummus is good, but...)

Elaine said...

This sounds very good. I have to be an annoying little sister here, Em, and point out that your friend Mark used whole wheat pasta!!! Just like I eat!! ;)

Nicholas said...

So sad I missed this!