Lasagna Throwdown Contest Winners
Roasted Vegetable & Genoese Pesto Lasagna
From Lorraine Fina Stevenski
Genoese pesto and roasted vegetables are two of my favorite constructed ingredients to cook with; so very versatile and deliciously made in minutes. Here is an easy to put together vegetable lasagna that pairs perfectly with a zesty Italian Romaine lettuce salad and hot crispy bread. You can also use jarred pesto if you are in a hurry. Choose any combination of vegetables you like as they will become soft and sweet when roasted. Make the pesto and roasted vegetables in advance for an even quicker meal in no time at all.
1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds
2 Large Garlic Cloves, peeled
1/2 Cup Loosely Packed Fresh Basil Leaves
1/2 Cup Extra-virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Honey
1/2 Cup Grated Grana Padano Cheese
Salt to Taste
1 Medium Eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2" dice
1 Medium Zucchini, not peeled and cut into 1/2" dice
1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes
1 Medium Sweet Onion, peeled and cut into 1/2" dice
4 Large Garlic Cloves
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Put It All Together:
1 -8 Ounce Box Oven-ready Lasagna Noodles
2 Cups Fresh Mozzarella
2 Cups Ricotta Cheese
1/4 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves, chiffonade
1/2 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 Cup Grated Grana Padano Cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
1. MAKE THE PESTO: To the bowl of a food processor, add the almonds and garlic; pulse to chop coarsely. Add the basil, olive oil and honey; process to a coarse paste. Add the cheese and process just to incorporate. The pesto should be smooth but still have some texture. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.
2. ROAST THE VEGETABLES: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed 1/2 sheet pan with foil overlapping the sides by a few inches. Spread all the vegetables on the pan; drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with dried thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the lower half of the oven until the vegetables are tender and just starting to brown at the edges; about 20-30 minutes. Set aside.
3. PUT IT ALL TOGETHER: Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X13 baking dish with cooking spray. Layer as follows: Place a layer of lasagna noodles slightly overlapping. Spread with 1/3 each of the pesto, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese and roasted vegetables. Repeat for 2 more layers (a Total of 3 layers).
4. TOP WITH: 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves chiffonade, 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Grana Padano cheese; drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 20-30 minutes or until bubbling and lightly browned. Let rest about 10 minutes before serving to firm up.
3 Cheese and Spinach Lasagna, a.k.a. Christmas Lasagna
From Jim DeCristoforo
2-3 large jars of your favorite marinara sauce
16 oz. package of ricotta cheese
1/2 - 1 cup grated parmesan
1 lb. fresh mozzarella
1 package of good lasagna noodles
16 oz. bag of fresh spinach
2 eggs, beaten
Cook lasagna noodles to direction on package. Drain and place on waxed paper.
Cook spinach and drain well.
Mix the ricotta cheese and eggs.
Slice the fresh mozzarella to quarter-inch slices.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Layer ingredients in the following manner:
Begin with an initial layer of sauce on the bottom of pan; follow with 3-4 lasagna noodles (enough to create a full layer, overlapping slightly); then a second layer of sauce; then a nice layer of the ricotta mixture; a thin layer of spinach; sprinkle parmesan cheese; cover with mozzarella.
Repeat this 3-4 more times, depending on the height of your pan and your quantity of ingredients. I usually get 4-5 layers. End with sauce on the top.
Cover top with parchment paper, then tightly with foil. (Paper keeps things from sticking to the foil.) Bake at 375 F for 1 hour to 1:15. Make sure it is bubbling nicely.
Let set for 15 minutes to allow it to settle. Cut into desired wedges, and serve with a nice salad, and crusty bread.