Vegie and Cheese Lasagna
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup sliced button or cremini mushrooms
3/4 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup peeled and chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 (26-oz.) jar prepared tomato basil pasta sauce
3 Tbs. prepared pesto
1 (15-oz.) carton part-skim ricotta cheese
6 hot cooked lasagna noodles, cut in half
3/4 cup (3 oz.) shredded part-skim or whole milk mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese or Grana Padano cheese
( If you read the post on Progresso Lentil Soup, this is a good recipe to add it to)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 70 minutes
Yield: Serves 6
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, zucchini, carrot, bell pepper, and onion, and cook, stirring often, for about 7 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the pasta sauce, stir well, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Combine the pesto and ricotta in a small bowl and mix well.
Spread about 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce mixture in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish or pan coated with cooking spray. Arrange 4 noodles over the tomato mixture. Top the noodles with half of the ricotta mixture and 1 cup of the tomato mixture. Repeat the layers, ending with the noodles. Spread the remaining tomato mixture over the noodles, and sprinkle with the mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
4. Cover the dish with a sheet of aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the dish and bake for 20 minutes more, or until the top is golden brown. Remove the lasagna from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
In Italy, its home of origin, lasagna is a very different animal than what we’ve come to know in America. While it certainly rates as on the richest dishes in the Italian repertoire, it’s almost austere compared to its American catch-all counterpart. In Italy, lasagna reflects the seasons: A springtime lasagna is delicate with young artichokes, while in autumn, you’ll find layers of pasta mingling with woodsy fresh porcini and winter squash.
But perhaps the true beauty of the Italian approach to lasagna is that by relying more on vegetables and lighter sauces—and less on cheese.