Sunday, April 29, 2007

Dinner party: Main course

After the first course of chilled asparagus salad (see below), I served a vegetable lasagna. It was rather labor intensive. I was reminded of why I only make lasagna a couple of times a year even though I love it.

I got the recipe from an old standby from the 90's called The New Basics Cookbook. A recipe is not really needed for lasagna though. Next time I'm going to wing it on the recipe although this one was very good and got many compliments.

There are some secrets to making lasagna:

  • Buy Barilla no cook lasagna noodle as these same a tremendous amount of time and hassle,
  • Assemble the lasagna the night before so the flavors have a chance to mingle (but remember to bring it out of the fridge a couple of hours before cooking so it is room temperature-ish.
  • Home made tomato sauce is really good BUT to save time, buy a pasta sauce in a jar that you like, add some chopped garlic, a couple of pinches of dried oregano, a pinch of dried basil, and some olive oil. I don't know how much, just do it until you like the taste.

Recipe inspired by the New Basics veggie lasagna:

1. Slice 8oz mushrooms and saute in butter or olive oil
2. Thinly slice a large onion, a red pepper and a green pepper; saute in olive oil with 3 cloves of minced garlic. Season w/ salt and pepper.
3. Cut an eggplant into 1/4 inch slices. Salt on both sides and drain a colander for 15 or 20 min. Dredge in flour and brown in canola or olive oil. Reserve on a paper towl.
4. Make a bechamel sauce (any recipe) and add grated parmesan until it tastes good. Maybe 1/2c. is what I used. Season w/ more salt if needed and pepper.
5. Doctor up 2c. of sauce from tomato pasta sauce with garlic, dried basil and oregano.
6. Assemble the lasagna: Spread some tomato sauce in bottom of 9x13in pan. Arrange lasagna noodles in bottom of pan. Add in layers the onion/pepper mixture, the mushrooms, and the eggplant.
7. Top the veggies w/ half of the bechamel parmesan sauce. Sprinkle a 4oz. log of goat cheese (YES goat cheese again) on top of the parmesan. I suppose you could use feta instead. If you like, put some sliced basil on top of the cheese.
8. Add another layer of noodles.
9. Pour 2 c. of the tomato sauce on top of noodles. Add remaining bechamel and sprinkle with 8oz. shredded mozarella.

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