I’ve searched for a long time for a good vegetarian lasagne. One of my best-ies makes the best one I’ve ever had but the real secret to its awesomeness is that the vegetables are grilled, which makes it impractical in many circumstances. Enter this entry. Many thanks to Ashlea, an American mother of four, for sharing her delicious creation with us. She adapted this from Allrecipes.com here. I have already served this dish twice to guests (once to pronouncedly non-vegetarian relatives) and everybody loved it.
Here I must also admit, with some embarrassment, that I changed the method of Ashlea’s recipe a very little. I know this is terrible etiquette for a contest entry. I can only say, I was thinking more as a cook than a blogger and only later realized this was not only not fair, but needed to be confessed. I omitted all mushrooms and cooked the onion and garlic into the tomato sauce instead of adding them to the ricotta mixture. Every time I have tried to put mushrooms into lasagne, they weep grey fluid into the whole thing and I end with a soggy mess. If you want to try with mushrooms, chop and cook with the onions and garlic.
10 lasagne noodles
lots of fresh spinach (at least 1 lb / 450 g)
1 T / 15 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T / 15 g chopped parsley
1 T / 15 g dried basil (or fresh)
1 1/2 t / 7 g salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
16 oz / 450 g diced tomatoes (can use frozen, fresh, or tinned)
2 6 oz cans tomato paste / 2 140 g tins of tomato puree or equivalent
3 c / 700 g ricotta cheese
2/3 c / 100-150 g Romano cheese, grated ( I used parmesan)
1 t / 5 g salt
1 t / 5 g dried oregano
1 t / 5 g dried basil
fresh ground pepper to taste (I also added a pinch of nutmeg here)
2-3 c / about 500-700 g mozzarella, grated
1 c / about 200 g parmesan, grated
Preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C. Boil a large pot of water, submerge spinach until cooked and remove with a mesh strainer. Press all the water out of the spinach (I push it into the strainer with a wooden spoon until water stops dripping out). Chop the spinach and reserve. Add a little salt to the boiling water and cook the noodles until al dente (can omit this step with “precooked” lasagne noodles, I suppose, but you will pay a price in texture.) Drain noodles and reserve.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet and saute the onions a few minutes until soft. Add the garlic, cook one minute to aromatic, then add the rest of the sauce ingredients and simmer for 10-15 minutes over medium heat.
Mix the ricotta, Romano or parmesan, seasonings for filling, and egg. Stir in the chopped spinach.
Layer a large rectangular baking dish with half the noodles, half the ricotta mix, half the mozzarella, and half the tomato sauce. Repeat, then top with the grated parmesan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake about 50 minutes.
Somehow, though I have been spending weeks testing vegetarian recipes, I have already managed to make this one twice. And I can’t wait to make it again! Thank you, Ashlea, for a new staple!