Tag Archives: lasagna

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

vegetable lasagna tastefood~ Roasted Vegetable Lasagna ~

Eat your lasagna and have your vegetables too. Roasted strips of eggplant, zucchini and red peppers alternate with lasagna sheets in this veggie-enhanced family favorite. No worries, there’s plenty of gooey melted cheese and tomato sauce rippling through this version, the most adamant veggie haters (we won’t point fingers) will be hard pressed to complain.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
Serves  6

Extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large red bell peppers, halved, stemmed and seeded
2 medium eggplants, sliced lengthwise, 1/4-inch thick
3 medium zucchiini, sliced lengthwise, 1/4-inch thick
16 ounces whole milk ricotta
1 large egg
2 to 3 cups finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 (8-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella, shredded
1 box lasagna sheets (you won’t use all of them)
Fresh basil leaves

Prepare sauce:
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan. Add onion; saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add 2 cloves garlic and red chili flakes; saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, oregano, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Simmer uncovered 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up tomatoes with a wooden spoon.

Roast vegetables:
Heat oven broiler. Place peppers, cut-side down, in a baking dish. Broil peppers until skin is blistered all over. Transfer to a bowl and cover. Let stand 10 minutes, then peel away skin. Slice peppers in 1/2-inch strips.
Generously oil a rimmed baking sheet. Lay eggplant slices in one layer on sheet, turning to coat with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Broil until golden and tender, turning once. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with zucchini slices.

Ricotta:
Whisk ricotta, egg, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 cup Pecorino, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a medium bowl.

Assemble lasagna:
Heat oven to 350° F (180° C). Spoon a thin layer of sauce in bottom of 8 x 10-inch baking dish or gratin. Place a layer of lasagna sheets over the sauce, breaking them to fit to size as necessary. Smear ricotta over pasta. Arrange eggplant slices over the ricotta. Spoon a little sauce over the eggplant. Sprinkle with Pecorino and scatter some of the mozzarella over. Place another lasagna sheet over the eggplant. Repeat the layering process, substituting the zucchini for the eggplant. Repeat again with the red peppers. Top with the last layer of lasagna pasta. Smear with ricotta. Top with any remaining vegetables. Spoon sauce over and around the vegetables. Sprinkle with a final layer of Pecorino and mozzarella.
Bake in oven until thoroughly cooked through and cheese is bubbling, 45 to 55 minutes. Serve warm with basil sprinkled over.

Roasted Yellow Beet and Ricotta Tian

I find it impossible to resist beets. Their colors are magnificent – it’s a miracle that nature can provide something edible that is so vibrantly hued. With the vivid color, of course, comes nutrients. Beets are a nutritional powerhouse, rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins and beta-carotene. I purchased these beets at the farmers’ market, without knowing how I would prepare them. I was simply happy looking at them.

Prompted by a batch of fluffy ricotta in my fridge, I decided to layer the yellow beets with the cheese as a riff on lasagna, with the beet slices replacing the lasagna sheets.  Yellow beets are milder in flavor than red beets, and their nutty, buttery flavor wouldn’t overpower the cheese. I also feared the red beets would completely saturate the dish with their magenta color, which, while lovely to look, threatened to irrevocably tint my pristine ricotta. This is a visually motivated dish.

Roasted Yellow Beet and Ricotta Tian
Makes 1 – 8 inch square tian or 4 individual ramekins

1 1/2 pounds yellow beets (4 medium or 8 small)
Salt
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1 cup fresh ricotta
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup finely shredded basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. Trim and peel beets. Slice very thinly crosswise with a mandoline or knife. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beet slices. Cook until tender but firm, about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Blot dry with a kitchen towel. Place in a bowl and toss with juice of 1/2 lemon.
Combine lemon zest, ricotta, garlic, basil, 1/4 cup pecorino cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in a bowl.
Arrange beets in one layer, slightly overlapping, in an earthenware or gratin dish. Smear some of the ricotta over the beets. Repeat layering process, finishing with ricotta on the top. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons pecorino cheese. Bake until beets are tender and cheese is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve garnished with fresh basil leaves.

Lasagna Night

Lasagna

My daughter announced the other day that she had just finished her 15th day of school. I was stunned. I could have sworn we had been back in the school routine for at least 3 months.

Since the beginning of September life has been a whirlwind of family activity revolving around school, carpool, activities, homework, dinners, entertaining and birthdays. As the children have grown older, it seems that time has sped up even faster with more and more commitments to attend to, including my work. I’ve already lost track of days, my car keys, a pair of flip flops and multiple shopping lists.

Yesterday was another blur, when at the end of day the inevitable question “What’s for dinner?” was directed to me and drew a blank stare. Luckily I had a stash of ricotta in the refrigerator, along with lasagna sheets in the pantry. A quick tomato sauce was easily prepared, and with a little assembly accompanied by a glass of red wine, a homey lasagna was produced to the satisfaction of all of us.

Lasagna

This recipe creates a dry and hearty lasagna, with little excess liquid and chunks of vegetables in the tomato sauce. If you prefer meat in your tomato sauce, add 1/2 pound browned ground beef along with the tomatoes. Serves 4-6.

For the tomato sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 sweet red pepper, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 – 28 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with juices
1 small can tomato paste
1 dried bay leaf
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the ricotta filling:
1 pound fresh ricotta
1 large egg
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the lasagna:
1 pound dried lasagna sheets
Fresh mozzarella, grated
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, grated
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Prepare the sauce:
Heat oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, carrot, red pepper and saute until the onion wilts, about 4 minutes. Stir in basil and oregano and saute one minute. Add tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, bay leaf and wine. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper and taste to adjust seasoning.

Prepare the ricotta filling:
While the sauce is simmering combine all the filling ingredients in one bowl and mix well.

Assemble the lasagna:
Preheat oven to 375 F. (190 C.)
Spoon a thin layer of tomato sauce in bottom of a deep baking dish. Lay a layer of dried lasagna sheets over the sauce, breaking the pieces if necessary to fit. Spread a layer of ricotta lightly over pasta.  Drop spoonfuls of the tomato sauce over the cheese without covering the sauce (or the lasagna will be very wet). Evenly sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano and mozzarella cheese. Repeat layering process until the last amount of ricotta has been used. Top the ricotta with tomato sauce and cheese. Bake in oven until bubbly and turning golden brown, about 45 minutes.