May 20, 2011
This is probably my favourite lasagna recipe ever. It is simply the perfect lasagna…so much so that I made it twice within a two-week period. So what do I love about it?
I love how it’s packed with veggies – and it’s so easy to be able to use which ever veggies you want in it. I added a lot to it that wasn’t in the original recipe, and I know you can add whatever it is that makes your mouth happy. You can taste all the veggie goodness in it too – they don’t all just blend together in one tasteless lump, but each vegetable maintains a bit of crunch and a whole lot of flavour.
The cheese filling! I loved the combination of ricotta and cream cheese. I’m sure many people, especially lasagna purists, will find this addition strange, an abomination against true lasagnas everywhere, but it really is fantastic. It gives a smoothness and a bit of tartness, which plays perfectly with the sweet tomato sauce.
This does take a little time to make, since there’s so much chopping, but the end result is worth it. You probably get about 18 servings of vegetables in one piece, so you can feel virtuous eating it as well.
2 cups thinly sliced zucchini
1/2 cup thinly sliced parsnips (or squash)
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup thinly sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup frozen spinach, thawed
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/2 cup sliced fresh basil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 oven-ready, “no cook,” lasagna noodles
8 slices provolone cheese, thinly sliced (I used emmental the last time, worked great!)
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1. Combine all the chopped vegetables in a large bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Place about 1/3 of the veggies in pan and cook until slightly tender. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat until all the veggies have been lightly cooked.
2. Combine crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, garlic, oregano, bay leaf, sugar, salt, and pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.
3. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, ricotta, eggs and salt. Stir together.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
5. Spread 1/3 of the sauce evenly over bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Place 4 uncooked lasagna noodles on top of sauce. Do not overlap noodles. Spread 1/2 of cream cheese mixture over noodles. Cover cheese mixture with 1/2 the vegetable mixture, more sauce, and top evenly with slices provolone cheese and 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers with 4 noodles, rest of the cream cheese mixture, vegetables, sauce, and remaining cheese. Place in oven for 35 minutes or until lasagna is hot and bubbling
Let lasagna stand for 10 minutes before serving.
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