Tonight I’m cooking dinner for the boyfriend, who is going away for a time to work on his doctoring skills. And what better way to say “safe travels” than with vegetarian lasagna?
And not just any lasagna. The BEST lasagna. Loaded with broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, and fresh basil.
I don’t really have a lasagna recipe– more like, I know how to make it roughly and I improvise. So I will lay out a plan of attack for you here, with some ingredient suggestions, and show you how to do the layers.
You Will Need:
Sauce, either store-bought or homemade. I made my own with diced tomatoes, tomato paste, oodles of basil, oregano, salt, lots of crushed red pepper and garlic. You will need a LOT of sauce. At least a quart. Maybe more.
Noodles. Cook them until they’re just about edible. You want them tough still, but at the point where another few minutes would render them al dente.
Cheese. In two forms. First, you need a few cups of mozzarella. Then, you need a container of ricotta, with an egg and at least a cup of parmesan mixed in. You could throw some feta in there, too. I like to saute some frozen chopped spinach (just to dry it out a bit) and put that in, and some salt.
Veggies. Saute some broccoli florets, stick-thin carrots… you could use peppers, too. You want them dehydrated so they don’t make the lasagna mushy. I like also to douse them in red wine, to tie them into the dish some more.
Turn your oven on to 350. First, you put a little bit of sauce on the naked pan. Then you lay down a layer of noodles. I use a scissors to make sure they fit right. Then, dollops of the ricotta cheese blend. Some mozzarella if you want. Then veggies. Then sauce. Then start over with noodles– but this time, go in the other direction so your layers are perpendicular; this will keep the lasagna together. When you’re out of space, top with mozzarella. Stick it in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Then, VERY IMPORTANT: Resist the urge to jump right in while it’s hot out of the oven. The lasagna needs to sit at least 10 minutes or it will fall apart and all your beautiful layers will devolve into a mass of noodles, broccoli, and cheese…. then again, there are worse things.
Lasagna is one of my favorites because, although it takes some prep work, it serves as great leftovers for the rest of the week. Once I’ve eaten it all, though, we’ll get down to business with some thai-inspired carrot soup….