Thursday, November 26, 2009

Fully Loaded

nov26_02

That’s the best way I can describe this lasagna. Why? Because it’s just about bursting out of its pan, trying to keep in all the goodness that I’ve managed to pack into it. My parents are visiting this week and my mom mentioned how she would love to have some lasagna, something she wouldn’t make on her own. And since my mom spoils me with her wonderful cooking when they visit, I thought I would return the favour.

What I love about lasagna is that it is such an easy dish to prep ahead of time. I made this the night before and merely had to leave the baking instructions with my mom. I used some frozen homemade tomato sauce with Italian sausages, spices and swiss chard added to it. Sautéed some mushrooms and extra swiss chard and added them to the thawed chopped spinach. Layer pasta with ricotta, the veggies, sauce, cheese, and repeat. Bake immediately, stick in the fridge for dinner the next day, or freeze for future consumption or last minute dinner guests. Best of all, you can always count on leftovers!

nov26_03

Fully-Loaded Lasagna
Serves 6 to 8
Adapted from
Martha Stewart

2 cups light or full-fat ricotta cheese
1 large egg
¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove excess moisture
3 cups homemade or good-quality store-bought tomato sauce
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
8 to 10 medium to large mushrooms, roughly chopped (optional)
Herbs and spices of your choice (optional)
8 to 9 no-boil whole wheat lasagna noodles
2 cups grated cheese (either mozzarella or a mix of your favourite)

Preheat oven to 400°F. If your lasagna noodles requires pre-soaking in cold water, do so now.

In a medium sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and mushrooms and sauté until soft, about 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together ricotta cheese, eggs, ¼ tsp nutmeg, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Add spinach and mushrooms, and stir well to combine.

Spread a small bit of tomato sauce in the bottom of an 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish. Arrange a layer of lasagna noodles on top, breaking the noodles as needed so that they fit into the dish. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, followed by 1/3 of any other sautéed vegetables or meat you wish to add (if desired), followed by 1/3 of the remaining sauce; sprinkle with 1/3 of the grated cheese. Repeat to make two more layers, ending with cheese. If freezing, cover tightly with plastic wrap. Before baking, defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

Cover with aluminum foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil; continue baking until top is golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes more. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. If lasagna has previously been frozen, be sure to remove lasagna from the fridge an hour before baking, and add 10 more minutes to the baking time.

2 comments:

Eleanor Hoh November 26, 2009 at 10:36 PM  

I love lasagne but the thought of making it overwhelms me. What a nice thought to make it for your mom.

Bonita December 16, 2009 at 8:14 PM  

I used to be overwhelmed by the thought of making my own lasagna too, but this is such an easy recipe. Plus I tried a version using bechamel once too. Anything after the bechamel version seems easier after that! ;)

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