This recipe deserves more than the usual
This recipe deserves more than the usual (ie, the ridiculously off-topic introduction). Or maybe that means less than the usual. I don’t know. What I’m trying to say is that I want to actually talk about the food here. I want to open your eyes to how adaptable this meal can be. Let me point out its attributes before I unravel the ingredients:
- It freezes wonderfully
- It can be vegetarian or omnivorous
- It is perfect for company; it cooks while you socialize
- It is different from the normal baked Italian fare
- You can adapt it to your vegetable-loathing-or-hating preferences
- It can be as healthy or indulgent as you desire (low fat, high fat)
- If you own a springform pan, assemble this pie in that and the unveiling will be beautiful! I did not use that technique.
What is it!? You beckon.
Lasagna Pie (assembly idea from CL, all else from me)
6 lasagna (we used whole wheat) noodles, cooked
4+ cups pasta sauce, recipe below or use your own
1.5 cups cooked lentils (you can use ground beef here, or even white beans)
1 chopped bell pepper (or carrots, onions, celery)
1 zucchini, shredded (or cubed eggplant)
1/3 cup ricotta cheese (I used part-skim)
3 garlic cloves, smashed, crushed, or whatev
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/8 tsp crushed cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil, or 2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 large tomato, sliced
shredded cheese for topping, if desired
Quick Stovetop Pasta Sauce (Cooking Light)
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 T balsamic vinegar or 1/4 cup red wine
1 large (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 T basil
1 T sugar
2 t oregano
2 T tomato paste
Saute garlic and onion in olive oil. Add sugar, oregano, and vinegar OR wine. Cook for 1 minute. Add can crushed tomatoes and basil. Bring to a boil and then let simmer 10 minutes.
Cook lasagna noodles by placing then in a 9×13″ pan with enough boiling water to cover. Let sit 20-30 minutes until pliable. Meanwhile, cook the bell pepper in a nonstick skillet. Add shredded zucchini and cook until little liquid remains. Add fennel, red pepper, and Italian seasoning. Add 2 cups of sauce and lentils. Simmer 10-15 minutes until a lot of liquid has evaporated.
Cut lasagna noodles in half and position in a pie plate sprayed with cooking spray in a spoke-like pattern.
Add 2/3 of pasta sauce + lentil mixture:
Spread ricotta over veggie mixture:
Fold lasagna noodles towards center over ricotta mixture. Add remaining sauce/lentil mixture on top of the dish, then top with sliced tomatoes. Bake at 375* for 30 minutes.
If your Omnivore is a “growing boy,” add cheese to his side. Or, if you need to pass this healthy dish off to the kiddos, add cheese all around. Or if you like cheese, just add it. Get the picture? Do whatever you want!