Monday, September 21, 2009

Pan-Roasted Veggie Lasagna Recipe

This recipe was requested by a friend. I used the lasagna and Italian tomato sauce recipes from Mollie Katzen's The New Moosewood Cookbook as the basis for this recipe. Major difference is that her veggies were not pan-roasted which is why I think she adds honey to her sauce. I will omit the honey next time, since the pan-roasting sweetens the vegetables. Also, with this recipe, feel free to oven-roast the vegetables and make any necessary substitutions. I substitute ALL the time.

Let's start with the sauce. (As with any recipe, read through BEFORE proceeding).

Pan-Roasted Veggie Tomato Sauce (this version made 9/20/09)

Full of flavor and slightly sweet -- you won't miss the meat!

Ingredients:

2 red bell peppers, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
about 6 organic fancy zucchini (the small ones)
about 1 lb. medium white mushrooms, thinly sliced
about 6 organic fancy zucchini (the small ones)
1 yellow onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
handful of flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, finely chopped
handful of fresh basil, finely chopped
6 organic dry-farmed tomatoes (small), roughly chopped
2 cans of organic diced tomatoes (or one large 28 oz. can)
1 can of tomato paste
1 T. honey (I'll leave out next time)
extra-virgin olive oil
salt
4 t. dried basil
freshly ground pepper
very fine garlic powder (I can only find this as Costco -- the stuff usually found in the supermarket is too coarse and doesn't taste fresh)
1-4 cups of water

Directions:

Okay, this is a bit labor intensive, but I think, is worth it. Oven-roasting may be much faster as you'll probably be able to fit more veggies in your oven at one time than you can in a skillet. Try 400 degrees for 20-40 minutes, until slightly browned (or charred).

I pan-roasted the veggies individually because over-crowding in your pan will prevent the ingredients from browning -- they'll just end up sitting in a wet soup. Put about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in your skillet (I happened to use a Dutch oven) and cook one of your bell peppers over medium high heat. Add a little salt and garlic powder halfway through. Cook until browning starts happening. Remove to a large bowl. Do the same with the other bell peppers. Do the same with 3 zucchini at a time. Then, do the same with the onion and mushrooms (I threw them in together for no real reason -- to save time, maybe? maybe the pan-roasting thing was getting a little old?). Keeping the onion and mushrooms in the pan (oh wait, these guys didn't get the garlic powder treatment, but I did add the dried basil, fresh basil, and parsley here, before doing the next step), add back the other veggies, the canned tomatoes, the fresh tomatoes, the tomato paste, the honey (if you want), and 1-2 cups of water (to your liking since it will depend on how juicy your tomatoes are -- the dry-farmed ones are sweet and flavorful, and not watery like typical salad tomatoes).

Stir, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Season as desired with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and simmer for 10 more minutes. You're done! I put it in the fridge after cooling since I was doing my lasagna assembly the next day.

Lasagna assembly:

Ingredients:

12 lasagna noodles (I used De Cecco, but usually use Barilla), uncooked
2 cups organic lowfat cottage cheese (one container)
1 lb. grated mozarella
nearly all of the sauce above

Heat oven to 375 degrees. (I reheated my sauce on the stove, thinking it would help the noodles cook faster. Also, I added 1-2 cups more water because the sauce was looking too thick.) In a 9x13 dish (mine was glass and slightly bigger by a half-inch on both sides), put a little bit of the sauce. Lay down four noodles, put down half of the cottage cheese on top -- in blobs, about a third of the sauce, and then a third of the mozarella. Another four noodles, the rest of the cottage cheese, a third of the sauce, and then a third of the mozarella. The last four noodles, followed by the sauce and the mozarella (I omitted the parmesan because I forgot to buy it!).

Place in oven, loosely covered with foil, for 40 minutes. Then, remove the foil, raise the temperature to 425 degrees, and bake for another 10 minutes. It should brown nicely on top and be bubbly throughout (I had to turn mine around because the front wasn't bubbling -- oven cooler in the front). Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing and enjoying!

The assembly is fun if you do all the hard work, meaning, the sauce, the day before.

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