Friday, January 7, 2011

Vegetarian Lasagna

Holy Week begins tomorrow: for my friends who are clergy or lay leaders in their churches, it is one of their busiest weeks of the year. This week the Mouse House will feature easy, make-ahead meals that can be stored in individual or family sized portions and frozen.

My first choice is vegetarian lasagna. My first memory of eating lasagna was as a young adult. It was in the mid 1970s and my grandmother was making dinner for her extended family. She served lasagna: from a recipe which called for cottage cheese instead of ricotta. What did we know? With our Scottish/English/Irish/Swedish heritage our knowledge of Italian food was spaghetti and meatballs and pizza. We were a meat/vegetables/potatoes kind of family. And dessert. Always dessert.

A few years later, I was dating and later married a man whose grandparents had all been born in Italy. His mother was a fabulous cook. I learned how to make lasagna, and never again, did it include cottage cheese instead of ricotta.

Vegetarian Lasagna

1 pound lasagna noodles
1 (15 oz.) container ricotta cheese
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 (26 oz.) jars pasta sauce
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (or fresh)
1 cup shredded carrots
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
Chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 350°.

1. Cook noodles as package directs.

2. In medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and eggs. Mix well.

3. Cook frozen or fresh spinach (chop into small pieces if using fresh); press all of the water out of the spinach. Add to cheese and egg mixture.

4. Grate carrots and add to cheese and egg mixture.

5. In a 14" by 11" by 2" pan, spread 1 cup pasta sauce. Layer with half each of the lasagna noodles, ricotta cheese mixture, pasta sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Repeat layering. Top with parsley.

6. Bake lasagna, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Lasagne is even better the second day!

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