I really like lasagna and have been looking for a good vegetable one with a non-red sauce for a while. I saw this one and thought it looked delicious. I know that they take a while to bake so I bought all the ingredients during the week with the intention to make it over the weekend. We have a small basil plant in our garden that has grown rather large so the sauce in this recipe was a great way to use some of it. Little did I know how long it would take to prepare! It was definitely delicious, Jason even went back for seconds, but had a ton of steps and pots and pans. I am not sure that I would make this again, or if I did would use frozen spinach only to cut out at least a few steps. Also, I used skim milk in the sauce to be healthier but would use 2% next time since it was a little bit runny.
Serves 8 to 10
- 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup raw baby spinach leaves
- 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
- 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 3 cups ricotta cheese (I used part skim)
- 1 egg
- 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick (Omitted due to picky eater)
- 1 jar (16 oz.) roasted red bell peppers, drained and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 lb. baby spinach, blanched and squeezed dry
- 9 oz. no-boil lasagna noodles, torn into rough 2-inch pieces
- 4 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh basil
In a blender, combine the basil leaves, raw spinach, 1/2 tsp. of the garlic and the 1/2 cup olive oil and process until a thick sauce forms. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, salt and pepper. Set aside.In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tsp. garlic and the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly stir in the milk, increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and let cool for 15 minutes. Stir the basil puree into the sauce.
In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and the excess moisture has evaporated, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add the bell peppers, blanched spinach, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Preheat an oven to 375°F. Butter a 3 1/2-quart shallow Dutch oven.
Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the pot and arrange a single layer of torn noodles on the sauce. Top with 1/2 cup of the ricotta mixture, 1 cup of the vegetable mixture, 1/2 cup of the sauce and 1 cup of the mozzarella. Layer the noodles, ricotta, vegetables, sauce and mozzarella 2 more times, then add a layer of noodles, ricotta, vegetables and noodles. Spread the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 cups mozzarella.
Cover the pot, transfer to the oven and bake until the noodles are nearly tender and the filling is bubbly, about 45 minutes. Uncover the pot and continue baking until the top is browned, about 15 minutes more. Let the lasagna rest for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the sliced basil, cut into slices and serve immediately.