Monday, March 17, 2008

Antioxidant Lasagna (and a new challenge)

I have just been cast as a character and dance captain in the latest production by my theater group. That means a lot of late nights where I won't be home to cook. Rather than force everyone in the house to rely on takeout and convenience foods, my plan is to cook something big once a week so I can just stop home, throw something home-cooked in the microwave, and head out the door again.

I'm looking for good large-quantity recipes. I'll need soups, casseroles, etc. This week I started with lasagna.

I am currently devising a classic lasanga Bolognese recipe for future use. It's going to have a meaty ragu and layers of bechemel. However, if I serve it to my husband, he'll accuse me of trying to poison him, so I'll have to wait until I can serve it to other people. This week's version is a vegetable-filled version so I can feel virtuous about all of the cheese I'm consuming and it assumes me I'll get my veggies in easily. I call it Antioxidant Lasanga because it contains lots of green and lycopene-y tomto sauce. This is inspired by my love of white pizza with spinach and broccoli. My husband will still have to take Lactaid to get it down, but he needs to suck it up or else get his dinner elsewhere.

When I made this, I used wholewheat blend noodles and part skim cheeses. If you want to use full-fat cheeses and white pasta, feel free. As Emeril says, you won't hurt my feelings.

Antioxidant Lasagna
9 lasagna noodles
2 Tbp olive oil
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 onion finely diced
4 cloves minced garlic, divided
1 pound sliced mushrooms
2 15. oz Cans crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 tsp salt
1 pound ricotta
1 cup shredded mozzarella
Copious amounts of freshly-grated parmiggiano reggiano (I didn't measure. So what? Just grate in as much as you like.)
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
1 package frozen broccoli cuts, thawed.

In a large pot, heat olive oil with red pepper flakes. Add onion and cook till transparent. Add mushrooms and 2 cloves of the garlic. Cook until mushrooms brown up a bit. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and salt. Simmer for at least 30 minutes. You can make your filling and boil your noodles while you wait.

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix the cheeses with the vegetables and the remaining two cloves of minced garlic.

In a pan, put down three lasanga noodles. Spoon the tomato-mushroom sauce over the top and spread the cheese/vegetable mixture over that. Add another layer of noodles. Layer with more sauce and cheese mixture. Put the last three noodles and the remaining sauce on top. (You will likely have some sauce left over. Put it in the freezer for your spaghetti.) Sprinkle some more mozzarella and grated parmesan if you like.

Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until firm and bubbly.

Sadly, I won't be able to do much baking for the next few weeks. That's really disappointing since I have been seeing a plethora of great dessert recipes on the blogs lately (and the ones I linked to just barely scratched the surface of sweets I want to make).


JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I like the sounds of this lasagna! Nice job getting all those veggies in there - that is how I like lasagna!

Sue said...

CONGRATULATIONS! That's awesome.You must be quite a hoofer.

The lasagna sounds really good, but I have to admit the name is rather off-putting.

Does your master (sorry that's me I'm talking about) does Kevin like chili? I do this with vegetarian chili, but you could do it with anything. Serve it over elbows (that's pasta, not body parts) or brown rice the first night, THEN you bring out some corn muffins from the freezer and have the chili with that the next night (with the leftover pasta or rice too) and THEN the 3rd night (as long as you've been very careful not to drool in it) you serve it IN tortillas with lots of shredded lettuce, salsa and plain yogurt. What could be better?

Emiline said...

Wow! I bet you feel so much healthier after eating this. You know, with all of the antioxidants in your body.
I want your San Marzano tomatoes, by the way.