+ (an extra for a friend) by Anne Tisbert
This weekend I was craving Lasagna and thought to myself how can I make this using all the vegetables we have at the farm stand. A tastier combo. Everyone raved, so here it is. You can begin this several days ahead, in stages, or all at once. It seems I am always interrupted or should I say, I tend to under estimate the time it takes to do things. Although, It went together very well in several stages over a few days.
- 1 package of Lasagna noodles (cooked. drained and cooled)
- 1 lb of fresh ground pork or sausage (cooked til browned, scrambled and drained on paper towel)
- 4 -QT jars favorite spaghetti sauce (I used Paul Newmans Organic w/spinach and cheese)
- 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 small onions chopped
- 2 large peppers chopped (I used 8 mini purple peppers)
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 Tablespoon of oregano
- 3 medium – Zucchini (Italian Romanesco ) sliced 1/4-1/2″ thick
- 1 bunch of red Swiss Chard(leaves only) or Spinach leaves
- 3/4 cup of cherry or 1/4″ sliced 2 – tomatoes
Filling – (Mix the following all together and set aside or refrigerate until ready to assemble)
- 2 – 32oz containers of Ricotta Cheese (some people like to use cottage cheese for lower calories)
- 4 eggs (scrambled)
- 1 1/2 – 8oz packages of shredded cheese (any kind you like, I had a mixed blend. Save last 1/2 for toppings)
- 1/4 cup of dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 4oz shredded cheese (Mozzarella makes a nice topping too!)
Cook pasta (slightly under cooked or al dente), drain and set aside (or put in a baggie in fridge) until ready to assemble.
Brown ground pork, into scrambled pieces and add 1 clove of minced garlic, drain on paper towel. Also can be put aside (or refrigerate) until later.
In a large deep skillet warm olive oil, add peppers and onion, cook until onion is clear and peppers are limp, then add 1 cloves of garlic stir in just until fragrant. Add sliced zucchini and sauté until slightly cooked. Remove zucchini and set aside (or refrigerate until ready to assemble). Turn off pepper, onions, garlic mix or set aside (or refrigerate until ready).
Heat homemade or jar Spaghetti sauce, add pepper, onion, garlic mixture. Add cooked pork, and continue to heat on medium until it bubbles, even when stirred. Turn off heat and add oregano. Stir again. Set Aside.
In a separate Large bowl, make filling by Mixing all the cheeses, eggs. Then rub the herbs in your hands as you add them to the filling until all ingredients are well blended. You are now finally ready to begin to assemble the lasagna. Get all your layers in order.
I use an enameled roasting pan 8 1/2″ by 15″, 2 3/4″deep, and also a standard bread loaf pan and fill both at the same time, so I can freeze one for later. Laddle the meat sauce thinly to just cover bottom of pans. Next add a layer of lasagna noodles to cover all the sauce. Use the longest pieces first and then cut pieces to completely cover the sauce layer. Next Dollop Filling (rubber spatula) over all the noodles and then lightly spread filling into a 1/2 ” thick layer. Then add another layer of noodles. Next add a thin layer of meat sauce covered with a layer of spinach or chard leaves. Next another layer of noodles. Next Dollop a thinner layer of cheese filling and spread only 1/4″ thick. Another layer of noodles. Next a layer of meat sauce. Then a layer of zucchini slices and a layer of cherry tomatoes in between zukes or add another layer of large tomato slices on top. Then add a thin layer of meat sauce if more is still remaining. (If meat sauce is hot when layering, then, top with shredded cheese. If assembling cold, cook 40 minutes before adding cheese topping.)
Bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Insert butter knife in center to test for hotness in lower cheese layers before removing from oven. Should be bubbling around sides too. Cut into large squares with a serrated knife and serve hot. Take uncooked lasagna pan of choice and cover with plastic wrap (xtra long so you will remember to remove plastic before baking) and also cover it with foil, FREEZE or deliver it to a friend.
Add a salad and crusty bread to complete your meal. Enjoy!