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Lasagna – Part Three: The Lasagna October 1, 2009

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Cooking Series, Food, random stuff.

Finally!  I’ll wrap up our very first cooking-blogging series by assembling the roasted vegetable lasagna – actually, my first roasted vegetable lasagna.  You’re going to want to stick around for this!

We’ve already made our roasted vegetable filling.

Peeps told you about the triple-tomato sauce.

PhotobucketNow it’s time to put those pieces together, along with a couple more.

We start with a hearty bunch of Swiss chard from the garden.  I’m not quite sure how much, though – Peeps just went out and hacked down what amounted to an armful, I guess.

So use your judgment.

PhotobucketThe chard needs to be soaked, cleaned, de-stemmed, and chopped or torn into pieces.  I chop, Peeps tears.  It’s all going to get sauteed anyway, so it doesn’t much matter, does it?

So what started out as a sink full of leaves becomes a pan full of chopped vegetation, then becomes a small pile of cooked greens.  Then it gets set aside, along with the filling and the tomato sauce.

And the cheese.  Let’s not forget the cheese!  A while back, I was shopping and found a 2-lb chunk of packaged mozzarella on quick sale – yeah, I know, packaged cheese on quick sale is probably not the best idea, is it?  And I did hesitate.  But it wasn’t past its expiration date, and it was half price.

PhotobucketHalf price!  How could I pass it by?  Since it was shrink-wrapped, I just tossed it in the freezer until the next time I had a need for lots of mozzarella, and we thawed it and ran it through the food processor.  (You didn’t think I was going to shred 2 pounds of cheese by hand, did you?)  There was plenty for lasagna – plus enough left over for pizza night besides!

So we set the shredded cheese aside along with the greens, the filling and the red sauce.  And yes, at this point we were running out of “asides” to set things!

One more piece, and we’ll be all set – a béchamel sauce for the top.  Just a basic white sauce – nothing fancy.

Except, well, one thing, and I wouldn’t even call it fancy.  Think of it more as a shortcut.

PhotobucketA while back, probably the last time we made a batch of boeuf a la bourguignone, Peeps mixed up a bunch of beurre manie – literally, “kneaded butter” – and we stuck it in small ice cube trays and stuck it in the freezer.  Now I know it’s not supposed to be the same thing as roux, but really, what’s the difference between equal parts of butter and flour that you finish a sauce with, and equal parts of butter and flour that you start a sauce with?

Yeah, I don’t think so either.

So anyway, we took about 3 Tablespoons worth of beurre manie roux out of the freezer to start the sauce – we added about a cup and a half of milk, some salt, white pepper, and a bit of nutmeg.  Gotta have nutmeg!

So here we are – FINALLY going to assemble this thing!

PhotobucketWe start with a couple of ladles full of red sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 pan, then three sheets of lasagne.  Yes, there’s space between the sheets, and no, there probably shouldn’t be.  But there you go.  If you prefer, Barilla’s website gives directions for properly layering the pasta.

On top of the pasta, we spread some ricotta-vegetable filling, more red sauce, and a handful of mozzarella cheese, then another layer of pasta.

PhotobucketMore sauce, then our greens, then plenty of fresh romano on top of the chard.

Then we basically continue layering the pasta, red sauce, ricotta-vegetable filling and shredded mozzarella until one of two things happens:

Either we run out of something, or we pretty much fill the pan, finishing with a layer of pasta.  (I think we had four layers of pasta, counting that top layer.)


And then we get the white sauce and pour it over the top, spreading with a spatula to make sure all the edges and corners of the lasagne are covered.  We don’t want them to burn!

Over that, a couple of healthy handfuls of mozzarella, again, making sure everything that should be covered actually is.

Then we cover the whole pan with aluminum foil – I’d spray the inside of the foil with non-stick spray.  You’d hate for all that melty cheese to stick, wouldn’t you?

And into a 350° oven, covered, for about half an hour, or until everything’s hot and melty.  (If, say, you had the good sense to make this ahead of time and shove it in the fridge before baking, you’d have to bake it a little longer. – probably closer to an hour.  Obviously.)


Remove the foil and continue baking another half hour or so until the melty cheese on top is spotty-brown and really melty – but not burned!


We actually let the entire lasagne cool on the counter, then covered with plastic and refrigerated overnight.  When it was thoroughly chilled, we divided it in thirds, double-wrapped two of the three hunks, and froze them for later.  When thawed, just cut and reheat, either in the microwave or in a pan with a little extra sauce.

A lot of work?  Oh, yes!

But was it worth it?  Absolutely!

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