Italian dishes cooked al forno are often too heavily laden with cheese or sauce and are not very interesting. I got a little weary of eating lasagna after awhile, the predictable ground beef, tomato sauce, and plethora of cheese became tiresome. But baked pastas don’t have to be this way.
So when my BW wants to have a group of neighbours from the block over, and says to make Lasagna, I make my personal vegetable lasagna along with focaccia. Everyone loved it. There is a little detail involved, but all in all, preparing vegetable lasagna is not tedious, and can be a welcome change from the typical lasagna you so often encounter. The clean taste and lovely texture of the vegetables is very appealing along with the light, almost delicate, cheese and sauce. Each time I make this dish with these particular vegetables, everyone is satisfied. I think you will be as well.
VEGETABLE LASAGNA serves 8
12 Lasagne noodles
½ cup dry marsala wine
1 onion, chopped finely
3 cups mushrooms, sliced (about 8 ounces)
2 large Zucchini, shredded (about 4 cups)
2 red bell peppers, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh tender spinach, chopped
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 lb. (500 grams) fresh ricotta cheese
1 cup of cottage cheese
1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup of marinara sauce
1 cup of shredded provolone or asiago cheese
- Heat oven to 425F (220C). Grease lightly or spray with nonstick spray a 3-quart (13x9 inch) baking dish.
- Cook lasagne noodles as package directs. Then drain.
- While noodles cook, bring Marsala to the boil in a large saucepan and put in the onion.
- Cook onion for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers and salt and cook for 5 minutes. Stir thoroughly and check liquid level, adding water if necessary.
- Add spinach, basil and oregano and cook 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain.
- Thoroughly combine the ricotta, parmesan and cottage cheeses in a bowl.
- Install 3 noodles in the bottom of the prepared dish.
- Top with1/3rd of the cheese mixture and 1/3rd of the vegetable mixture.
- Repeat this layering twice more.
- Top with the remaining noodles, the marinara sauce and the shredded cheese. Get some aluminum foil, spray one side and cover the dish tightly.
- Bake at 425F (220C) for 25 minutes.
- Uncover the dish and bake 5 minutes more, making the top golden brown.
Let rest for 5 minutes, and then serve. Enjoy.