I know I know….it is such a clique – but when the weather finally turns a bit cool, the urge to spend time in the kitchen really hits me! This past week was no exception to that calling.
Nesting at home with friends was just the ticket for Sunday night, with lasagna calling out my name. Since spinach, mushrooms, and fresh fennel were just a’waiting for a new home, I obliged them by adding them as happy little friends in a veggie lasagna.
Here’s how it happened:
Boiled those noodles, sautéed the mushrooms, added sliced fennel, tossed in about 6 cloves of minced garlic, and some oregano, thyme, and pepper. Once that mixture was softened, off to a bowl it went to wait while it’s friend, the spinach, was wilted in the same pan with a little olive oil and pepper.
Mix together about 8 ounces of low-fat ricotta with 2 eggs, and add in some Italian seasoning along with a tiny bit of salt and lots of pepper. Stir until creamy and smooth. Add about 4-6 ounces of shredded Italian cheese blend. Stir to blend.
Noodles are done, veggies are ready, and now all we needed was a large dish with a little marinara spread across the bottom. In go the first layer of noodles, next comes the ricotta / egg / shredded Italian blend cheese mixture, then a layer of veggies and spinach, some marinara and shredded mozzarella on top….keep up the layers until you get to the tippy top.
Once you reach the top layer of noodles, spread on the remaining ricotta mixture, the rest of the marinara, and the final layer of shredded cheese.
Here is the secret ingredient: Cooking Spray on aluminum foil – sealed on top off the dish.
In the oven she goes at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes. Remove the foil (see, no cheese sticks, right? That secret ingredient is working!) and bake another 20 minutes at 350 degrees, until bubbly and calling out your name!
Remove from oven, and let that baby rest for 5 minutes (if you can resist temptation that long!….) and cut into yummy squares.
Add a salad, and some warm bread, and dinner is served.
Come on cool weather!!! Buon Appetito!