Super fabulous vegetarian lasagna! Everyone loves this--even it's-not-dinner-unless-there's-meat folks. And if you want, it's easy enough to sprinkle in some cooked Italian sausage. :)
I grew up on this lasagna. It's my family's comfort food. It's the dinner we want when we want something REALLY good for dinner. It's the dinner we would fight over who got the last of the leftovers. We've been known to snitch bites of leftovers even before breakfast. Which is why it was probably so hard to get a whole serving of leftovers. :)
I make this dinner on Sundays because I'm home more. And it's not that it's difficult or even time-intensive, but it does take a lot of simmering unattended on the stove to produce a truly fantastic sauce.
You should make some. I promise it won't disappoint!
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper (any color, or a combination), chopped
32 oz. crushed tomatoes (diced if you like it chunkier)
2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
2 6-oz. cans tomato paste
2 Tbsp. parsley flakes
½ c. red wine, cranberry juice, or water
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. dried marjoram
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. sugar
1-2 tsp salt (to taste)
About 8-10 lasagna noodles
Baby spinach, washed
1 lb. small-curd cottage cheese
1 lb. ricotta cheese
½ c. freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced or grated
1. Saute the onion and bell pepper in a little olive oil. Add the rest of the ingredients for the sauce and stir to mix. Simmer until it cooks down to about ½ of the original volume (about 1-2 hours).
2. When the sauce is ready, cook the lasagna noodles according to package direction. (Or, turn it off and wait until about 1.5 hours before you want to eat and then cook the noodles.)
3. Combine the ingredients for the cheese filling.
4. Put a small amount of sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13-in pan. Add a layer of noodles (half of the noodles cooked). Add about ½ of the cheese mixture on top of the noodles. Then add a layer of spinach and cover that with sauce.
5. Arrange half of the mozzarella cheese on top. Now add another layer of noodles (the other half), the remaining cheese mixture, spinach and sauce.
6. Place in a cold oven and bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Place a layer of mozzarella cheese on top. Continue to bake until the sauce is hot and the cheese is melted. Cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
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