Vegetarian Lasagna

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Pixie
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Vegetarian Lasagna

Post by Pixie » Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:16 am

Be sure to use Italian fontina rather than bland and rubbery Danish or American fontina; if it is not available, substitute whole milk mozzarella. To make the cheese easier to shred, freeze it for 30 minutes to firm it up. If fresh nutmeg is unavailable, use only 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Because the lasagna is broiled at the end of the cooking to brown the surface, make sure to use a baking dish that is broilersafe.

INGREDIENTS

20 ounces curly spinach (2 bags), stemmed and rinsed - I use frozen spinach that's been defrosted and well drained!
1 tablespoon table salt


Bechamel

7 tablespoons unsalted butter , divided
8 ounces white button mushrooms , cleaned, trimmed, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
5 large shallots , minced (about 1 cup)
4 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (generous 1 tablespoon)
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
2 bay leaves
3/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)

Cheeses and Pasta

8 ounces whole milk cottage cheese
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter for baking dish
12 lasagna noodles from 1 box - BE SURE TO BUY NO BOIL NOODLES
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
8 ounces Italian Fontina cheese , shredded (about 2 cups)


Bechamel 101

1. For the spinach: Fill large bowl with ice water. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven or stockpot over high heat; add salt and spinach, stirring until spinach is just wilted, about 5 seconds. Using skimmer or fine-mesh strainer, transfer spinach to ice water and let stand until completely cool, about 1 minute, then drain spinach and transfer to clean kitchen towel. Wrap towel tightly around spinach to form ball and wring until dry. Chop spinach medium and set aside.

2. For the béchamel: Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming, add the mushrooms. Sauté until lightly brown, about 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms to a small bowl. Melt the remaining 5 tablespoons butter in the saucepan over medium heat until foaming; add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 1/2 minutes; do not brown. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat, whisk in bay leaves, nutmeg, salt, and pepper; reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Whisk in Parmesan and discard bay leaves. Transfer sauce to bowl, press plastic wrap directly against surface, and set aside.

3.For the cheeses, pasta, and assembly: Blend cottage cheese, egg, and salt in food processor or blender until very smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl and set aside. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Place noodles in a 13- by 9-inch broilersafe baking dish and cover with hot tap water; let soak 5 minutes, agitating noodles occasionally to prevent sticking. Remove noodles from water and place in single layer on kitchen towel. Wipe baking dish dry and coat with remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Use rubber spatula to distribute 1/2 cup béchamel in bottom of baking dish; position 3 noodles on top of sauce. Stir spinach into remaining béchamel in bowl, mixing well to break up clumps of spinach (you should have about 4 cups spinach/béchamel mixture). Spread 1 cup spinach mixture evenly over noodles, sprinkle evenly with Parmesan, and top with 3 more noodles. Spread 1 cup spinach mixture evenly over noodles, sprinkle evenly with 1 cup Fontina, and top with 3 more noodles. Spread 1 cup spinach mixture evenly over noodles, followed by cottage cheese mixture. Place the mushrooms evenly over the cottage cheese mixture. Finish with 3 noodles, remaining cup spinach mixture, and remaining cup Fontina. Lightly spray large sheet foil with nonstick cooking spray and cover lasagna. Bake until bubbling, about 20 minutes, then remove foil. Remove lasagna and adjust oven rack to uppermost position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Broil lasagna until cheese is spotty brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, then cut into pieces and serve.

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I was a vegetarian for 13 years!!!!!!!!!!!! This is a great recipe!

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Pixie
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Re: Vegetarian Lasagna

Post by Pixie » Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:00 am

iamlookingup wrote:
Pixie wrote:
I was a vegetarian for 13 years!!!!!!!!!!!! This is a great recipe!
How long does it take to prepare? Can you use Ricotta instead of Cottage Cheese?
:wave: IALU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Excellent question!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes you can!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sometimes I use ricotta, and sometimes I use cottage cheese, and sometimes I use half of one and half of the other, because each variation gives a bit of a different taste! The cottage cheese is more tart!

It takes about an hour if you use fresh spinach and about 40 minutes - 45 minutes if you use frozen! Be sure to buy NO BOIL Lasagna noodles. If you can't find them... and sometimes I can't, be sure to prepare according to package directions (under cook by about 2 minutes!).

Make sure you buy the cheeses already grated or that takes a lot of time!!!!!!!!!!


:wave:

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Pixie
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Post by Pixie » Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:19 pm

:laugh: Will do! :)

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Martha
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Post by Martha » Wed Aug 27, 2008 11:51 am

This sounds fabulous, Pixie. I've made lasagna frequently, but can't say they were anything special. I know this will be great coming from you. Thanks.
I baked bread yesterday and will post the recipe. pssst it's really easy.

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Post by GoodBoy » Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:40 pm

Something I learned about lasagna noodles from AllRecipes.com

You can soak them in hot water for about 10 minutes and they cook up just fine, no need to boil them.

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Pixie
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Post by Pixie » Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:52 pm

Martha wrote:This sounds fabulous, Pixie. I've made lasagna frequently, but can't say they were anything special. I know this will be great coming from you. Thanks.
I baked bread yesterday and will post the recipe. pssst it's really easy.
:wave: Martha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm so happy you like this recipe as I posted it with you in mind!!!!!!!

I saw your bread recipe and I'll give it a try!!!!!!!!!!!! At the moment I'm big into scones and biscotti... but soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Pixie
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Post by Pixie » Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:54 pm

GoodBoy wrote:Something I learned about lasagna noodles from AllRecipes.com

You can soak them in hot water for about 10 minutes and they cook up just fine, no need to boil them.
:wave: GoodBoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Exactly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you look at the recipe it recommends "no boil" noodles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That helps keep the recipe from getting soggy and overcooked!!!!!!

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Martha
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Post by Martha » Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:07 pm

GoodBoy wrote:Something I learned about lasagna noodles from AllRecipes.com

You can soak them in hot water for about 10 minutes and they cook up just fine, no need to boil them.
What a great tip, I never would have thought of that.

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