Thursday, March 10, 2011

Eat: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna Margherita

Four weeks of my healthy dinner project and I'm still sticking to it.  I'm kind of amazed. 

In addition to the Butternut Squash and Black Bean Burritos that I shared here, we've had Roasted Squash Parmesan with Broccoli Rabe and Quinoa in Vinaigrette, and Homemade Whole Wheat Flatbread topped with Sauteed White Beans and Tomatoes and Frizzled Prosciutto. 

My favorite so far, though, has been this lasagna, which brings the combination of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil that I love on pizza margherita to a baked pasta.  It's also packed with vegetables and uses whole grain pasta, so despite the cheesy goodness I'm calling it healthy.

Big E actually managed to eat some --without gagging! And Little E?  Well, she (eventually) took the required three bites.  No comment on the gagging.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna Margherita


2 small eggplants, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
2 small zucchinis, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
3 red or green bell peppers, seeds and ribs removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
3 tablespoons of olive oil (plus extra to grease baking dish
2 28 oz. cans of whole tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
16 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese
3 oz. baby spinach
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon of salt
About 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into 12 thin slices
1 box whole wheat lasagna noodles
freshly parmigiana reggiano for serving (optional) 

  • Heat the oven to 450.

  • Toss the vegetables with one tablespoon of olive oil, lay out in a single layer on two cookie sheets covered with foil and roast in the oven, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until well-browned and softened.  You can multi-task by preparing the ricotta, starting the sauteed tomatoes and prepare the pasta while the vegetables roast.
  
  • To prepare the ricotta mixture: put ricotta, salt, spinach and egg into a food processor and whir until completely combined.  It will look bright green, but after Big E was convinced to try it she confirmed that it doesn't actually taste like spinach.

  • For the sauteed tomatoes, remove tomatoes from the can juices and lightly mash them with the back of a fork, cutting them if necessary to make the chunks bite-sized.  Heat two tablespoons of oil.  Add the garlic and saute it until it is fragrant and lightly browned.  Add tomatoes and cook until they are warmed through and juices are reduced.  Add two tablespoons of chopped basil and stir through.  Remove from the heat.

  • Prepare pasta according to package instructions.

  • Grease the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with olive oil, and cover it with a layer of pasta, overlapping the pieces slightly if necessary.

  • Spread half of the sauteed tomatoes over the pasta layer, then evenly pour all of the ricotta mixture on top of the tomatoes. Distribute the roasted vegetables over the ricotta mixture. Cover the vegetables with a second layer of pasta. Spread the remaining tomatoes over pasta. Place the mozzarella slices in three rows of four and sprinkle with chopped basil.

  • Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Bake for an additional 5 minutes uncovered. Remove from the oven and allow the lasagna to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

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