MAKES: 6 to 8 servings
TIME: 1 hour, with prepared pasta sheets and sauce
At its simplest lasagne is a baked layered dish of pasta, sauce, and cheese; adding some cooked vegetables, like spinach, zucchini, or mushrooms, is a no-brainer. Make your lasagne with fresh pasta whenever you can; it’s traditional and completely delicious. Surprisingly, store-bought egg roll wrappers work well too. You might also try polenta slices instead of pasta.
If you feel that a lasagne isn’t a lasagne without mozzarella, substitute shredded mozzarella for half of the ricotta.
1 recipe any fresh pasta, rolled into sheets, or 12 dried lasagne noodles
2 tablespoons softened butter or extra virgin olive oil
2 recipes Fast Tomato, Meatless Meat, or Mushroom Sauce
3 cups cooked spinach, squeezed dry and chopped, or any other chopped vegetable
3 cups ricotta, plus more as needed
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan, plus more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Cut the fresh pasta sheets into long, wide noodles approximately 3 — 13 inches or a size that will fit into your lasagne dish. Cook the noodles (6 at a time for dried noodles) until they are tender but still underdone (they will finish cooking as the lasagne bakes); fresh pasta will take only a minute or less. Drain and then lay the noodles flat on a towel so they don’t stick.
Preheat the oven to 400В°F. Grease a rectangular baking dish with the butter or olive oil, add a large dollop of tomato sauce, and spread it around. Put a layer of noodles (use 4) in the dish, trimming any overhanging edges; top with a layer of tomato sauce, one-third of the spinach, and one-fourth of the ricotta (use your fingers to crumble it evenly over top) and Parmesan. Sprinkle some salt and pepper between the layers of tomato sauce and spinach if needed.
Repeat the layers twice and top with the remaining noodles, tomato sauce, ricotta, and Parmesan; the top should be covered with cheese; add more ricotta and Parmesan as needed. (The lasagne may be made ahead to this point, wrapped tightly, and refrigerated for up to a day or frozen; bring to room temperature before proceeding.)
Bake until the lasagne is bubbling and the cheese is melted and lightly browned on top, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes before serving; cool completely, cover well, and refrigerate for up to 3 days; or freeze.
White Lasagne. Seriously rich and delicious: Omit the ricotta and substitute 1 recipe chamel Sauce for the tomato sauce.
Pesto Lasagne. Alternate layers of pesto and tomato sauce or use all pesto: Substitute Traditional Pesto for all or half of the tomato sauce.
Vegan Lasagne. Use pured tofu: Use Eggless Pasta or dried lasagne noodles; substitute pured silken or soft tofu for the ricotta and bread crumbs for the Parmesan. Add basil leaves between the layers if you like. Be sure the tomato sauce and spinach are well seasoned. Proceed with the recipe, finishing with a layer of seasoned bread crumbs.
11 Vegetable Dishes for Layering in Lasagne
Layer any of these dishes between your lasagne noodles, with tomato sauce, chamel, cheese, or nothing.
- Boiled or Steamed Greens
- Roasted Artichoke Hearts
- Grilled or Broiled Eggplant
- Eggplant Slices with Garlic and Parsley
- Sauted Mushrooms
- Caramelized Onions
- Roasted Red Peppers
- Oven-Roasted Fresh Plum Tomatoes
- Butternut Squash, Braised and Glazed
- Panfried Pumpkin with Tomato Sauce
- Baked Mixed Vegetables with Olive Oil