Vegetarian Lasagna And An Old Recipe Book

Vegetarian LasagnaOne of my favorite summer time recipes is the lasagna recipe from The Vegetarian Epicure: 262 Recipes. I started making this dish in the 1980s and it is such a good leftover dish. Like most lasagnas this is a Saturday dish especially if you make the marinara sauce from scratch with recently picked tomatoes. The dish is pretty simple with most of the culinary emphasis placed on the spinach-ricotta mixture. That mixture consists of 1 onion sauteed lightly in a tablespoon of olive oil with a little garlic thrown in at the end. In a big bowel you combined this mixture with 3 beaten eggs, 2 pounds of Ricotta cheese, and a quarter of a pound your favorite hard Italian cheese, and a 1 1/2 pounds of chopped spinach. My cheese of choice was Parmigiano Reggiano and fortunately my local Meijer was trying to get rid of some old spinach so I picked my way though two 10 ounce packages for the 1 and 1/2 pounds. The final trick was to cook the lasgana noodles al dente. The noodles need to be firm enough that you can pick them up with tongs. I lathered the noodles lightly with butter to keep them from sticking while I put the dish together. There is no reason to overcook the pasta when it is going in the oven for another hour. With all of the ingredients ready I preheated the oven to 350°, put the baking dish on a baking pan, and started layering in a 9 x 13 baking dish. First came the noodles, then the ricotta mixture, 1/2 pound of shredded mozzarella, and finally the marinara sauce.  Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place the dish on a baking pan. In my old age I decided that messy dishes like lasagna require a baking pan to keep the oven clean. For old farts like me it is a good way to prevent marital strife. Place the dish in the oven for 40 minutes before removing the foil. Remove the foil and continue to bake for 10, 15, or 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes to set.  Drink a glass of wine, grab a piece of hot, garlic toast, or make a very green, crisp salad. Lasagna can be messy if you try to cut it too early. Serve and enjoy!