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Sep 242007

This is the vegetarian version of the lasagna recipe I gave Jenn and Phil for their wedding reception.

Step 1:
Tomato/mushroom sauce

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion coarsely chopped
8 oz mushrooms (button, or crimini), coarsely chopped
1 oz dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water till soft and roughly chopped, soaking water strained (through a coffee filter) and reserved

5 cloves of garlic chopped together with:
fresh rosemary
fresh sage
1-2 dried hot peppers

1 1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good red wine
2 28oz cans Italian plum tomatoes (san marzano preferred) crushed by hand

Heat oil in a pot on medium heat. When hot add onion. Sauté till soft and translucent. Add fresh mushrooms and cook till wilted. Add porcini and chopped garlic/herb mixture. Stir for a minute or so. Add red wine, breath fumes. Add porcini soaking liquid. Turn up heat and allow liquids to reduce somewhat. Add salt and pepper. Add tomatoes, stir, bring to a simmer, turn down heat to low and let simmer for about half an hour, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust salt. Makes enough for 2 lasagnas, so you only need half.

Step 2: Eggplant

2 large eggplant
olive oil
Heat broiler. Peel eggplant and cut into 1/4” slices lengthwise. Brush slices with oil. Broil slices, till brown, about 5 min per side. Lightly salt and stack the slices and cover lightly with foil. Repeat with second batch.

Step 3: Cheese and greens filling

1 1/2 lbs. Fresh greens (spinach, kale, chard etc.) or 2 10 oz packages frozen spinach
1/2 lb ricotta
1/4 cup or more of freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese (good stuff)

For fresh greens: Wash greens well in several changes of water to remove all dirt and grit. Blanch greens in boiling salted water (spinach will take only about a minute. Other studier greens should be cooked longer). Remove green and plunge into cold water to stop cooking. Using you hands, squeeze all the water out of the greens. Chop the greens. For frozen greens follow package instructions, then drain and squeeze dry.
In a bowl combine the ricotta, Parmesan, about 1 tsp of salt, freshly ground black pepper, some nutmeg (1/4 tsp freshly grated) and the egg. Mix to combine well, then add the chopped greens and mix well again.

Step 4: Noodles
Cook 1 lb of lasagna noodles in lots of boiling salted water till al dente. Drain and put into cold water. Drain again and spread on towels to dry.

Step 5: Assembly
8 oz fresh mozzarella, chopped or grated.
1/2 of the tomato/mushroom sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a Lasagna pan spread a thin layer of sauce. Add one layer of noodles. Make a layer with half the cheese and greens filling. Add a thin layer of sauce and another layer of noodles. For the next layer spread the cooked eggplant and top with a layer of sauce and half the mozzarella. Add another layer of noodles and cover with the remaining cheese and greens mixture. Cover with the final layer of noodles. Add remaining sauce. Top with remaining mozzarella. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes, till bubbly and browned on the top. Remove and let sit for 10 minutes before cutting.

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