Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Vegetarian Night

I don't want to toot my own horn here (to be honest I'm usually quite critical of myself) but I make a good lasagna.  It just seems that lasagna and me get along well - I almost never use a recipe and it's always delicious.  It is lasagna though so how can't it be?

I did use a recipe for this one though because I have never made a vegetarian lasagna (my husband was quite skeptical).  I followed the recipe for the most part but instead of making a home-made marinara I just bough a jar of Ragu and saved myself 30-40 minutes of chopping and reducing.

I normally shy away from vegetarian recipes because I never seem truly full after them.  They always seem to be missing a little meat.  This lasagna however was very satisfying and both of us loved it.  It's a recipe that I will definitely make again, though I'm thinking about swapping the ricotta for cottage cheese - a personal preference of mine.  

Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna
(adapted from this website)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion diced
2 garlic cloves
1 bag (100g) fresh baby spinach
2 cups chopped shitake mushrooms
250g Ricotta cheese (or try the cottage!)
1/2 cup grated cheese (I used cheddar, but mozza is more "Italian")
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper

1 large jar of your favourite pasta sauce
1 pkg oven-ready lasagna noodles
fresh basil and Parmesan for garnish

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic, cook until tender (onions become translucent).  Stir in mushrooms, cook for 3 minutes.  Add spinach, cook until wilted.  Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine ricotta, cheese and egg.  Stir well.  Stir in spinach/mushroom mixture.  Set aside.

Take a large glass casserole dish and spoon about 1/3 cup pasta sauce onto the bottom of the dish.  Add 1 layer of noodles.  Top noodles with about 1/2 - 2/3 cup ricotta mixture and spoon some of the pasta sauce around as well to ensure the noodles are completely coated.  Continue this process for 4 layers.  Top with remaining pasta sauce and ricotta mixture, making sure to coat all sides and corners of the pasta (otherwise you will get gross crunchy bits)

Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until you can pierce the lasagna with a fork.  Remove from oven, slice and add some chopped fresh basil and grated Parmesan.

This will convert anyone who hates vegetarian food!

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