Friday, April 2, 2010

Veggie Lasagna

One of my family's favorite meals is veggie lasagna. It takes a little extra time, and when the veggies are not from our yard, a little extra money, but it is so worth it.

Here is how I make it for my crew.

First I put some pasta sauce in the bottom of my biggest Pyrex pan. If you have homemade, that is the best, but as tomatoes are not in season, I used a jarred Roasted Garlic sauce.

On top of the sauce, place as many dry lasagna noodles as will fit without overcrowding. I often break mine up to get them to fit best...I like good noodle coverage.

I then prepare the zucchini layer. In a very large skillet, melt a few tablespoons of butter with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Slice 3 medium or two large zucchinis into thin rounds. Take three large cloves of garlic and mince. Take a handful of white mushrooms, or whatever mushroom you like, and chop into bite size pieces. Slice a large leek, or two smaller leeks in half lengthwise, then into half moon slices no more than 1/4 inch think. Add leeks to a large bowl and rinse in water a few times, the last time filling the bowl up so that the leeks rise to the top and any remaining sand can sink to the bottom (leeks can be very sandy). To the pan, add half the leeks and all garlic, cooking for a few minutes before adding the zucchini and mushrooms. Cook on medium low until everything is soft and starting to caramelize. Add some kosher salt and pepper to taste, then place the mixture on top of the noodles in the dish.

I then top this with a simple Beschamel made using butter and flour to create a roux and adding milk, salt, pepper and grated garlic. Cook until thick and poor over the top (you can also add mozzarella cheese to the sauce to make a cheese sauce).

Add another layer of noodles and prepare the spinach layer. Add some olive oil to the pan you cooked the zucchini in. Add the remaining leeks and two large bags of baby spinach (or about 6-8 cups). Add Kosher salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until leeks start to soften and spinach is wilted but still holds it shape well. At this time, add 1/3 a block of cream cheese and stir until melted and incorporated. Add the mixture to the Pyrex dish, cover with more noodles a layer of Ricotta cheese, enough to cover the noodles, then slice some fresh tomatoes and add them with some fresh basil on top of the Ricotta. Top with more noodles and cover with enough pasta sauce to evenly cover the whole casserole. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake until noodles are cooked and everything is hot and bubbly. About 10 minutes before the lasagna is done top with mozzarella so it can melt and won't burn, or you can just add to the top and leave in the hot oven with the heat turned off when cooking is completed.

So yummy, so good for you :)