Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The mystical GREEN layer

lasagna 001For the last couple of years, I have made a point of  always including this weird, magical, mystical GREEN layer in almost every lasagna I have made.

It’s easy and turns any everyday lasagna into a gourmet treat!

So what’s in the green stuff?

A tub of ricotta cheese, some frozen spinach, an egg and salt.  Okay, sometimes, if I’m not sick and miserable – like today – I use fresh spinach, wash it check it steam it.  But today, it was frozen Bodek spinach, straight into the blender with the other stuff.  Poke it around a bit if it doesn’t blend smoothly at first, and then it’s done.

The other trick with lasagna, which I didn’t do today, is the old “hiding-the-veggies-from-your-family-so-they-won’t-know-it’s-healthy” trick, only since my intention is not to HIDE the veggie but to combine it, it’s okay.  Just roast a red pepper or two and then purée it with the tomato sauce. 

Oh, also, in addition to one tin of pasta sauce, I blend in one tin of tomatoes.  So the red layer is usually pasta sauce – tomatoes – red peppers.  I omit the red peppers if my sister is coming over; she can’t stand them.  Also when I don’t have any or if I’m sick… like today. 

Sniffle.

Here’s how I assemble it:  red layer, pasta layer (precooked; rarely oven-ready anymore, because it just doesn’t taste as good), green layer, sprinkle mozzarella, red layer.  Repeat as many times as you have pasta and room in the pan.  Finish with a pasta layer and then a red layer over the pasta.  Wrap tightly, bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes.  Uncover, sprinkle top generously with mozzarella, and bake another 15 minutes uncovered.  Serve and delish!

lasagna 003One final word of lasagna wisdom:  if you notice halfway through the layers that you are running out of mozzarella cheese, stop!  Save it!  Nobody will notice if it’s a little skimpy in the middle… but everybody will complain if there’s none on top!

Mmm… secrets of the lasagna-making pros.