Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wicked Good Lasagna

This is no joke.  I freakin love this lasagna.  It's simple, tasty, lighter than your average lasagna and pretty easy to make.  You really must try it.  Many of you will be looking for some meatless meals in the up coming weeks.  Try it.  Some of you do meatless Mondays.  Try it.  We find it to be so darn yummy, we don't give meat a second thought.  No need.  This Skillet Lasagna is from Food Network Magazine's cookbook.  The only changes I have made is using part-skim ricotta (why wouldn't you?) and when it isn't the heart of tomato season (which in CNY is almost never is), I use canned crushed or diced tomatoes.  Check it out:
I highly recommend prepping before you get going because once it's time to assemble it goes pretty fast.  So gather up the goods.  Mince some garlic and if using fresh tomatoes, chop them up.  Heat about 2 TBS olive oil (actually the recipe calls for 1/2 cup but that is unnecessary) and saute the garlic.  Give it about a minute to turn golden and throw the tomatoes in.  while this is cooking get your other ingredients ready.

Mix your ricotta, parm, egg and herbs together with some salt and pepper.

Use your peeler to make ribbons of a carrot and zucchini, they will be nice and thin and cook perfectly. 

Slice up some fresh mozzarella.  I do NOT recommend substituting regular mozzarella.  I think the fresh stuff has a lot to do with just how fabulous this dish is.  Trust me on this.  By the time you're done with the prep your sauce is probably done.  Pour it in a bowl and hit it with (my favorite kitchen tool) the immersion blender.  This can be done using a food processor or blender as well (use caution when blending hot liquids in a blender!).  Once the sauce is blended you are ready to assemble.  It's a cinch when you're all prepared.

No joke.

Skillet Lasagna

2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
1 1/2 lbs ripe tomatoes diced or 1 28oz can crushed or diced toms
4 TBS fresh basil (and parsley if you got it) chopped
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 Cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg
2 TBS grated Parmesan
6-8 sheets no boil lasagna noodles
1 carrot, peeled into ribbons
1 zucchini, peeled into ribbons
3 1/2 cups baby spinach (the grown up stuff works too)
1/3 lb fresh mozzarella sliced thin

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over med-high heat.  Add garlic and cook until golden.  Add 1 TBS herbs, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until saucy (or until prep is done) about 5 min.  Transfer to a blender and puree (or to a bowl and use immersion blender).

Reduce heat to low and return one cup of sauce to the skillet (enough to cover the bottom).  Mix ricotta, egg, parm, 3 TBS fresh herbs, 1/2 tsp salt and fresh pepper to taste in a bowl.  (you can do this while the sauce is cooking)

Place 2 noodles over the sauce in the skillet (I usually break up another to fill in the spaces).  Layer half of the carrot, half of the zucchini on top; drizzle with a touch of oil and season with salt and pepper.  Cover with half of the spinach, half of the ricotta mixture (plop spoonfuls randomly around) a few slices of mozzarella and top it with a ladle of sauce.  Repeat layers ending with noodles.  Top with remaining sauce and mozzarella.  Cover and simmer until cooked through and cheese is melted. About 25 min (you may want to cook a few min uncovered if it there is a lot of liquid).  Let rest before slicing and top with fresh herbs.

With my minor adjustments and the fact that the book calls this 4 servings (It's more like 6), This recipe is about 400 calories per serving.  If you had lasagna at The Olive Garden you would easily double the calories and almost triple the sodium.  Make this for your loved ones.  You will be a star.

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