Baked veg­etable lasagna per­fect as is (or with ad­di­tions)

Cecil Whig - - JUMPSTART - By Re­Becca Bent

A ver­sion of this recipe made it into a cook­book called “The Heal­ing Kitchen” and is pre­fect served hot or cold. It’s the per­fect base recipe to in­clude ground meat, even chopped seafood or more veg­gies.

This recipe re­quires 15 min­utes of prep time, but once the lasagna is in the oven, it can ba­si­cally be left alone. I like to pre­pare this dish any night of the week and es­pe­cially love it the fol­low­ing day as a left­over — the sauce mar­i­nates the pasta, mak­ing it even more de­li­cious.

If you want to pre­pare this dish in ad­vance, sim­ply as­sem­ble the lasagna and cover it in an air­tight con­tainer and place it in the freezer. Though I gen­er­ally rec­om­mend cook­ing and eat­ing any dish within a few days of prepa­ra­tion, this dish re­ally is per­fect for freez­ing, to be pulled out on a rain­ing day…or night! From a frozen state, bake an ex­tra 20 min­utes un­til pip­ing hot. Serve with a gen­er­ous glass of red wine and en­joy. Baked Veg­etable Lasagna

Makes six hearty serv­ings 1/2 pound lasagna noo­dles 1 1/2 cups ri­cotta cheese 1 ta­ble­spoon finely chopped pi­men­tos 2 cups fresh spinach, wilted in the mi­crowave for 30 sec­onds (or wilted on the stove) 1 tea­spoon salt 1 whole zuc­chini, ends re­moved and grated with a cheese plane 1 whole squash, ends re­moved and grated with a cheese plane 3 Brus­sels sprouts, finely chopped 1 ta­ble­spoon melted but­ter 32 ounces mari­nara sauce, (store-bought or use the recipe be­low) 8 ounces finely grated moz­zarella cheese (maybe more if you like cheese) Place the oven rack on the mid­dle shelf of the oven and heat the oven to 350 F for at least 20 min­utes.

Fill a large pasta pot with cold water (about 3/4 of the way full) and place the pot over high heat. When the water comes to a boil, add the lasagna noo­dles, push­ing them un­der the water as it soft­ens. Stir the pasta to en­sure it does not stick, and fol­low the pack­ag­ing in­struc­tions for cook­ing time. The in­struc­tions should sug­gest about 10 min­utes boil­ing time. When the pasta is fin­ished cook­ing, drain it well and set aside.

Mean­while, com­bine the ri­cotta, pi­men­tos, spinach and salt in a medium bowl. Stir un­til well blended and a paste is formed.

As­sem­ble the lasagna in a 9-inch casse­role dish in the fol­low­ing order: sauce, pasta, shred­ded veg­gies driz­zled with but­ter, moz­zarella and ri­cotta mix­ture. The top layer (what­ever it is) should be cov­ered with sauce and more of the moz­zarella cheese, so re­serve a lit­tle sauce for this. (I was able to get three lay­ers of pasta with no over­lap­ping.)

Bake the lasagna for 45 min­utes. Half­way through the cook­ing process, cover the lasagna with foil to avoid any burn­ing. Re­move the lasagna from the oven and let it sit for 10 min­utes be­fore serv­ing.

Cook­ing at Home is a weekly col­umn where Re­becca dishes on what she’s been mak­ing.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF RE­BECCA BENT

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