Thursday, January 5, 2012

Vegetarian Lasagna

Some of our friends came over last night, and my friend is vegetarian, so I wanted to cook something that would please everyone.  Brett's not always so big on vegetarian, but one of the things he still loves absent meat is lasagna.  Plus, lasagna makes for awesome leftovers.

Also I have the best secret ever to boil noodles.  No, it's not because I don't want to take an extra few minutes to boil lasagna noodles, it's because the Bertolli noodles are so thin.  My complaint with most lasagna is that the noodles are thick and kind of gummy.  But not these noodles.  Just trust me on this.  I credit my mom, who made us some lasagna this year with the no bake noodles....and bam, I was converted.

Little buddy wishes he could try some, but sorry buddy, your stomach is too tender. 

1 package Bertolli no boil lasagna noodles
2 jars pasta sauce 
1 T oregano
3 cups frozen spinach
1 cup thinly sliced yellow squash
2 medium tomatoes 
15 oz part skim ricotta
2 eggs
1 cup shredded parmesan 
12 slices of fresh mozzarella (about 8 oz)

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a sauce pan, heat up the 2 jars of pasta sauce and add the oregano and frozen spinach.  Simmer the sauce until the rest of the ingredients are prepared. 

Thinly slice about 1/2 of a yellow squash either with a knife, or with a slicer.  You should cut it as thin as possible. 

A couple of years ago I got a great present from my Aunt Debbie that was a slicer that allows me to compensate for my terrible knife skills. You can find these at any cooking stores. 

Slice the tomatoes about 1/4" thick, and the mozzarella about 1/4" thick as well.  Some of the larger mozzarella packages come pre-sliced, and those are fine size as well. 

To make the ricotta spread, mix the 15 oz of ricotta with 1/2 of the parmesan and the eggs.  Mix until smooth. 

To build the lasagna, use a 9x11 pan, and if you use anything other than glass or ceramic, make sure to use cooking spray or butter to line the pan.  Add about 1/2 cup of sauce to the bottom of the pan, then layer the noodles on top of the sauce in the way that fits best...don't over fit it though.  On top of the noodles, add a layer of tomatoes, a layer of the sliced squash, a layer of the ricotta (about 1/2 of the ricotta mix), and 6 slices of the mozzarella.  

Once the first layer is done, add another layer of sauce, a layer of tomatoes, a layer of squash, and the remaining the ricotta mix.  I did NOT add another layer of mozz in this part.  I love cheese, but even I know that three layers of mozz would be a bit of overkill.  For the last part, add more sauce, noodles, and then more sauce directly on top of the noodles.  Add the remaining mozzarella, and then it is ready to go in the oven. 

Cover the pan with foil and put in the oven for 40 minutes.  After 40 minutes, remove the foil, add the remaining parmesan cheese and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Once the lasagna is done, it should be bubbling on top and the cheese should be a bit browned. 

Let the lasagna sit for at least 5 minutes and then serve.  Yum!

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