Lasagna is a great comfort food. Layers of pasta stuffed with a bolognese, béchamel and cheeses make a hearty meal all by itself. This recipe uses a vegetable bolognese to lighten it up just a bit and a big crunchy salad on the side would be a nice compliement.
makes about 5 cups
1 1/2 tbl Olive Oil
1 med Yellow Onion, finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, peeled smashed and minced
2 Celery Stalks, split and finely diced
2 lg Carrots, trimmed and finely diced
2 med Zucchini, trimmed and diced
2 med Squash, trimmed and diced
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
2 tbl Tomato Paste
1 cu Red Wine
1 can Petite Tomatoes, 28 oz size
makes about 3 cups
1/4 lb Butter (1 stick), cubed
1/2 cu All Purpose Flour
3 cu Whole Milk
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
8oz Shredded Mozzarella
1 1/4 cu Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cu Finely Grated Parmesan Cheese
Additional Ingredients and Tools
1 lb package Lasagna Noodles
9”x13” Baking Dish
1/4 cu Freshly Chopped Parsley, for garnish
Make the Vegetable Bolognese. Pour olive oil into a large saucepan over medium low heat. Add onions and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrots and continue to sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook for about 6 minutes until onions are tender and translucent. Add zucchini, squash, oregano, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and continue to sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, red wine and canned tomatoes and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium high and, while stirring regularly, sauté for about 30 minutes until the moisture has cook off and the mixture is relatively dry. Remove from heat and set aside.
Make the Béchamel Sauce. Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until just melted. Stir in flour until fully blended. Continue to stir until mixture starts to reach a golden brown. Be carefull not to let it burn. Slowly whisk in whole milk, a little at at time, until it is fully incorporated and there are no lumps. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Continue stirring until mixture reaches the consistency of a thick gravy, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Prepare the Pasta. Prepare pasta noodles according to package directions but place them in a large container of ice water as you remove them from the pot. Once cooled, drain the noodles and place them individually on parchment or wax paper so that they don’t stick together. Dab or brush off any excess liquid.
Assemble the Lasagna. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the lasagna pan on your work surface. Using the back of a spoon, squeeze out any excess liquid from the bolognese and pour it into the bottom of the pan. For a 9” x 13” baking pan you’ll get five layers of pasta and four layers of filling. To begin, place a layer of pasta on the bottom of the pan with the noodles overlapping each other. Using kitchen shears, trim the noodles for a tight fit in the pan and cut smaller pieces to cover any gaps or spaces if necessary. Spread 1/4 of the bolognese over the noodles. Spread about 1/5 of the béchamel over the bolognese. Sprinkle about 1/4 of the shredded parmesan and about 1/5 of the mozzarella on top. Add another layer of pasta and repeat the process. After you’ve added the fourth layer of filling, add another layer of pasta being sure to completely cover the top of the pan. Spread the remaining 1/5 of the béchamel on top. Sprinkle the remaining 1/5 mozzarella over the béchamel. Lastly, sprinkle the 1/4 cup of grated parmesan on top of everything.
Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes until lasagna is cooked through and cheese on top has melted and is golden brown. Remove from oven and let the lasagna sit for 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Sprinkle a bit of parsley on individual servings. The lasagna layers actually hold together better if you bake the dish the day before, let it cool and refrigerate it. Then, reheat it and slice into individual portions.