19 October, 2011

Eats - Lasagna

My boyfriend keeps referring to this as "veggie lasagna," but I tell him I think veggie lasagna conjures images of over-cooked chunks of vegetables, and this lasagna is really just a basic, easy lasagna, with room for whatever alterations you wish to make.
Fresh from the oven
For the most basic version of this dish, you need:
1 box of lasagna noodles
1 jar of simple spaghetti sauce (Or you can make your own sauce)
1 pound of swiss cheese slices
But, you can add whatever you want.  I added fresh basil, garlic, spinach, and mushrooms to this one.
Pasta boiling
Preheat oven to 375 deg. F
Boil the lasagna noodles about 8 minutes.  They need to be soft, but don't need to be cooked through as they will finish cooking during the baking.
While the noodles are boiling, cut any vegetables you want to use.  If you're going to put meat in it (and you can, though I never do), cook it now as well.
Drain the noodles, rinse with cold water (I don't usually rinse my pasta, but your fingers will be all over these noodles, and you don't want them to burn you), return them to the pan and toss with olive oil.
Building the lasagna
To build the basic lasagna, put a small amount of sauce in the bottom of the pan (1/4 cup or so), and spread it around.  Add a layer of noodles - most pans will be wide enough to hold 3 noodles per layer.
Add more sauce, then top with cheese.  Repeat a layer of noodles, sauce, cheese.  Do this until you don't think you can fit anymore in the pan.  You will not likely use all of the noodles, but the sauce should be gone.  Probably you will have 5 layers, so plan accordingly.

Also, I added about 1/4 cup of red wine to the sauce after the first layer, recapped, and shook the jar to mix it.  Not necessary, but we all know wine is good in pasta sauce.

Bake approximately 45 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling throughout.  If it starts to burn, cover the pan with foil.
In the oven
To add additional ingredients, you can arbitrarily add them in the layers wherever you like.  In this one, I put spinach and mushrooms in all of the layers as shown above, including some on the top layer.  It's really not important where you add them as long as they are distributed throughout the lasagna.

Also, I usually top mine with ricotta, but I forgot it at the store, and it's still great without it.  If you use it, just drop it by the spoonful on top of the lasagna, or you can add it into one of the layers.

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