The Luncheon Theme
Italian! Every year Dearest’s family gather to celebrate his maternal grandmother’s birthday. It is such a fun event and a wonderful time seeing every one. Usually it is a bar-b-que, but this year they wanted to do an Italian theme. I had never made vegetable lasagna so I thought this would be a fun opportunity!
- Lasagna noodles - about 9
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 cups grated carrots
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow squash
- 1 cup finely chopped zucchini
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves minced
- 3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
- two 6 or 8 oz. packages pre-washed spinach
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
- one 15-oz container ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon ground sea or kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 24 oz. jar tomato and basil marinara sauce
- 2 cups shredded italian cheese blend
- garnish: fresh basil
preheat the oven to 375 degrees
Cook the lasagna noodles in boiling water. Two minutes before suggested cooking time, check to see if they're al dente. If so, drain the pasta and rinse with cold water; lay the pasta atop wax paper.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oive oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, squash, zucchini, and half of the garlic. Cook and stir about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Transfer to a large bowl
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Add the mushrooms and remaining garlic. Cook and stir 5 or 6 minutes, or just until tender. Gradually add the spinach and cook, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes, until the spinach is just wilted. Use a slotted spoon to drain the mushroom-spinach mixture before putting it into a medium bowl. Top with basil and set aside.
In a small bowl, stir to combine the ricotta, parmesan, egg, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Spread 1/2 cup of the marinara in the bottom of a 9 by 13 baking pan. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles atop the sauce Top with about 1/2 of the vegetable mixture, half of the ricotta mixture, and about 1/2 of the mushroom mixture.
Add another layer of noodles, evenly top with 1 to 1 1/4 cups marinara. Top with the remaining vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the cheese blend. Add another layer of noodles. Layer with the remaining mushroom mixture and ricotta mixture sprinkle with 1 cup of the cheese blend.
Place the pan on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Cover the pan with a tented sheet of foil makings sure not to touch the cheese. Bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more or until the cheese is lightly golden brown. Let the lasagna sit for about 15 minutes before serving.
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