Cook the lasagna noodles in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, cool, and set aside. Heat the butter, blend in the flour, and cook several minutes without browning. Add the milk and simmer, while stirring continuously, for several minutes. Season with salt and white pepper, strain, and set aside.
Sauté the onion in half of the olive oil. Add the garlic, then the spinach, and season with salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Sauté the mushrooms in the remaining olive oil over high heat. Add the white wine, simmer until nearly dry, and season with salt and white pepper.
Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C) F. Coat the bottom of a casserole dish liberally with butter or oil, and cover with a layer of noodles. Cover with a layer of spinach, coated with about half of the sauce, followed by another layer of noodles. Blend the ricotta cheese with the eggs and herbs, and spread a layer of this on the noodles. Sprinkle the top of this with the mushrooms, followed by another layer of noodles. Top this with the mozzarella, and a final layer of noodles. Cover this with the sauce, sprinkle with grated cheese, and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove the cover, and bake another 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 20 minutes before serving.
If using aluminum foil to cover the dish for baking, be sure to place a sheet of parchment or wax paper over the pasta first, before covering with foil. Where the foil comes into contact with the lasagna, the acid in the milk, cheese, and so forth, will dissolve the aluminum and leave some on top of the food. (The same applies to tomato-based lasagna.) Any remaining ingredients can be used to prepare a second, smaller lasagna.
From Simple Italian Food: Recipes from My Two Villages (, ), by Mario Batali.
In Italy, the term lasagna refers to the width of the noodle, not a particular preparation, so baked is an important part of the recipe description. We serve these baked lasagne in the early spring, when the asparagus first becomes available. It is far better to have too much balsamella sauce than not enough – it’s what makes the dish so good.
1 recipe basic pasta dough, rolled to thinnest setting on pasta machine 2 cups balsamella 1 cup pesto sauce 1 cup grated pecorino sardo cheese 1/2 cup bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil and add about 2 Tbsp salt. Prepare a bowl of ice water. Trim the asparagus and boil 1 minute. Use tongs to remove the asparagus from the hot water, reserving the cooking water, and refresh in the ice bath. Use tongs to transfer the asparagus to a colander, drain well, and cut each spear in half crosswise. Set aside.
Cut the pasta into 20 5-inch squares and drop into the same boiling water as used for the asparagus. Cook 1 minute, until tender. Drain well and refresh in the ice bath. Drain on towels and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, stir the balsamella, pesto, and grated cheese together until mixed well. Butter four 6-inch oval gratin dishes and place 1 piece of pasta on the bottom of each. Top each piece of pasta with 3 pieces of asparagus and 2 Tbsp of pesto, followed by another piece of pasta. Continue with this layering until you have 4 pieces of pasta and 4 layers of asparagus and pesto mixture. Lay one more piece of pasta on top, followed by a spoonful of pesto mixture and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Place the dishes on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbling and golden brown on top. Serve immediately.
From Zuzu Bailey’s It’s a Wonderful Life Cookbook (, ), by Karolyn (Zuzu) Grimes and Franklin Dohanyos.
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, sauté onions, garlic, and carrot until tender. Add cream, seasonings, and flour. Cook over low heat until thickened. Stir in broccoli. In a separate bowl, combine Ricotta, Parmesan, eggs, and parsley; mix well. Place 4 noodles in a casserole dish. Spread one-third of the broccoli mixture on top, followed by one-third of the cheese-egg mixture, and one-third of the mozzarella. Repeat twice more. Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours, until bubbly. Let cool awhile before serving.
Yield: 10 to 12 servings
From Alphabet Cooking (, ), by Elaine Magee.
Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C) F. Pour some of the spaghetti sauce into the bottom of a tart pan. Top with one of the wonton wraps. Top that with more sauce, then vegetables, and then some of the grated cheese. Top with another wonton wrap, more sauce, more vegetables, and some cheese. Top that with another wonton wrap, any remaining sauce, and any remaining cheese.
Bake in 400°F (205°C) oven for about 15 minutes.
From The Garden of Earthly Delights Cookbook: Gourmet Vegetarian Cooking (Canada, UK), by Shea MacKenzie.
Combining potatoes, noodles, and a béchamel sauce makes this interesting and satisfying dish unique.
1 pound fresh spinach, or 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed 1 tsp freshly grated horseradish 1 clove garlic, crushed 1/2 cup Cottage Creme
1-1/2 cups skim milk 3 Tbsp arrowroot 1 tsp sea salt 1/2 tsp white pepper 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste) 1 cup cottage creme cheese 1 cup shredded Double Gloucester, Cheshire, or sharp Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
In a large pot, cook the lasagna noodles al dente according to package directions.
While the noodles are cooking, prepare the spinach filling. If using fresh spinach, clean thoroughly and remove the stems. Place the leaves in a large bowl and sprinkle with 3 to 4 Tbsp sea salt. Work the salt into the spinach with your hands, tearing it into small pieces. Rinse under cold water to remove the salt, then shake dry. If using frozen spinach, squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Place the spinach in a medium-sized bowl and add the horseradish, garlic, and cottage crème cheese. Set aside.
Next, prepare the cheese sauce. In a medium-sized pot, stir 1/4 cup of the skim milk into the arrowroot using a wire whisk. Slowly add the remaining milk and cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until the sauce begins to bubble and thicken. Add the salt, white pepper, cayenne pepper, cottage creme, and double Gloucester cheese. Stir well, remove from the heat, and set aside.
Scrub the potatoes then thinly slice (leave the skins on). Place the slices in a shallow skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Add 1/2 cup water and simmer, covered, over low heat until the potatoes are barely tender (about 5 minutes). Drain carefully.
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) F. Lightly coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with vegetable oil. Drain the lasagna noodles and rinse well under cold water. Drain again and set aside.
Cover the bottom of the baking dish with 1/4 cup of the cheese sauce. Place two of the lasagna noodles side by side and top with half of the spinach mixture, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese on top. Arrange half of the potato slices in a layer and cover with half of the remaining sauce. Repeat the layers and top with the last 2 noodles. Cover with the remaining sauce, and sprinkle with shredded Double Gloucester.
Bake the lasagna until it is lightly browned and bubbly (45 to 50 minutes). Let it stand 5 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.
Yield: 4 servings
From Polenta (, ), by Brigit Légère Binns, Deborah Denker.
This is a variation of pasticciata, a traditional northern Italian polenta dish that is often made with cheese only. The addition of vegetables and fresh herbs gives it a nice summery flavor. A fairly substantial dish, it requires nothing more than a green salad liberally scattered with halved red and yellow cherry tomatoes, dressed with a simple lemon-juice vinaigrette, to accompany it. A light red wine, such as a Valpolicella, would round out the menu nicely. This dish may take a little time to prepare, but it’s healthy eating at its very best.
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 3 cups Chicken Stock, preferably homemade 3 cups water 1 tsp coarse sea salt 1-1/2 cups polenta or coarsely ground yellow cornmeal 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 medium-size white or yellow onion, coarsely chopped 3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch dice 6 ounces white button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced 1/4 inch thick Salt Freshly ground black pepper 1 pound fresh spinach leaves, well washed, shaken dry, and coarsely chopped 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh marjoram 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil Butter, for preparing the baking dish 2 cups (15-ounce container) fresh ricotta, at room temperature 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or romano 1/2 pound Italian fontina, slivered Freshly ground black pepper
To make the polenta: In a very large heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over very low heat. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes, or until softened. Do not let the garlic burn. Add the chicken stock, water, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and, when the liquid is simmering, gradually sprinkle the polenta over in a very slow, thin stream, whisking constantly in the same direction until all the grains have been incorporated and no lumps remain. Reduce the heat to very low. Switch to a wooden paddle and stir every 1 or 2 minutes for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and the grains of polenta have softened. Stir in the butter. The mixture will be very thick.
Rinse 2 large baking sheets with cold water and shake them dry. Mound half the polenta on each one. Using a rubber spatula repeatedly dipped in very hot water, spread the polenta evenly in the pans until it is just over 1/4 inch thick. Cover the pans with tea towels and allow to rest for 1 hour at room temperature or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
To make the filling: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring, or until it is softened. Add the zucchini and mushrooms and stir for 3 to 4 minutes more, or until the vegetables begin to soften. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add half the spinach, cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 2 minutes. Turn the spinach over so that the wilted leaves are on top and add the remaining spinach. Cook, covered, for 2 minutes more, and turn the spinach. Repeat until all the spinach has wilted. Add the fresh herbs, cover, and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) F. Butter the bottom and sides of a large, deep baking dish, attractive enough to serve at the table, either a 10 x 14 x 2-inch rectangular dish or a 13 x 9-inch oval dish.
Cut the polenta into 2 x 4-inch rectangles. Layer the ingredients in the following order: polenta rectangles, ricotta sprinkled with Parmesan, another layer of polenta, vegetable filling, ricotta sprinkled with fontina, and another layer of polenta. Continue layering until you have used up all the ingredients, finishing with a thin layer of the vegetable filling sprinkled with Parmesan and black pepper to taste. Tap the baking dish gently on the counter to settle the ingredients. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let stand for about 7 minutes. Cut into loosely defined wedges and serve immediately.
Yield: serves 6
From New Vegetarian Cuisine (, ), by Linda Rosensweig, Prevention Magazine.
A good dish for a large crowd. Just add a simple tossed salad and some crusty garlic bread for a quick party meal. Don’t use a metal pan for this dish because the artichokes will become discolored from it. You may assemble the lasagna ahead of time and bake it later. Cover it well and refrigerate for up to one day or freeze for up to a month.
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the noodles for 10 to 12 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large no-stick frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the stock and basil; bring to a boil. Add the artichokes, spinach and peppers; cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and cook until all the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.
In a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the margarine. Whisk in the flour; cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk, Parmesan and nutmeg; cook, stirring constantly, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the sauce boils and thickens.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) . Coat a 9x13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with no-stick spray.
To assemble the lasagna, spread 1/3 cup of the sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
Top with 3 of the noodles; spread with half of the artichoke mixture. Spoon 1/3 cup of the sauce over the artichoke mixture and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of the bread crumbs. Repeat the procedure.
Top with the remaining 3 noodles. Spread with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbsp bread crumbs.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Yield: Makes 8 servings
From Blanc Vite (, ), by Raymond Blanc.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Slice each rectangle of tofu into 6, the full length of the rectangle, using a very sharp knife. Set aside on a tray.
Mix the chopped garlic and ginger together and place a third of this into a pan with the shallots and carrots; cover to the level of the carrots with water then boil for about 10 minutes until the water has all evaporated and the carrots are soft. Place into the bowl of your food processor and pulse to small chunks. Remove from the processor and set aside. Clean the bowl.
Stir-fry the pak-choi stalks for 2 minutes, then add the leaves and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes. Place these in the food processor and pulse to the same size as the carrots. Set aside.
Layer the tofu slices with first the carrots and then the pak-choi, finishing with a layer of tofu. Do this with the remaining tofu, carrot and pak-choi, to make 3 more lasagnes. Very carefully, place them in an ovenproof dish and set aside.
Bring the soya milk to the boil with the soy sauce and the remaining garlic and ginger, then simmer to reduce by a third. Pour over the top of the tofu lasagnes. Place in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
While the tofu is in the oven, mix the mint, coriander, chili and sesame seeds together; steam the watercress to al dente. Serve the tofu surrounded by the watercress, the sauce and topped with the herb, chili and sesame mixture.
Yield: Serves 4