A BLOG ABOUT A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Story of Friendship and Perfect, 1-hour Vegetarian Lasagna

The story of this delicious Vegetarian Lasagna begins over two years ago with my friend Erica. It was my 23rd birthday, and Erica wanted to do something special, so as a gift, she hit the grocery store, rounded up all these ingredients, came to my house, and cooked dinner with me. It's still one of the specialist presents I've ever received, and every time I make and eat this particular lasagna, I'm taken back to that night we spent eating dinner, drinking wine, and playing Rummy. We've had a lot of great times in the kitchen together, making everything from cupcakes to potato gnocchi, and Erica helped me become more confident with creating dishes. I know my readers might be like, "come on, where is this recipe already," but hold your horses! Erica has always been there for me, whether it was performing emergency comma correction or taking me to Sonic when my childhood cat, Swirly, died, and I want to say thank you, Erica. Thanks for the ghost hunting and the long car trips for Thai food, thanks for always wanting the best for me. Your friendship makes me feel lucky. And this vegetarian lasagna makes me feel 23 again. I love you.

Perfect Vegetarian Lasagna (serves 12-great for parties, or having leftovers)
You will need:
  • several small red potatoes 
  • 1 onion 
  • 1 zucchini
  • several cloves of garlic 
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli 
  • 1 box lasagna noodles 
  • 1 jar of pasta sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes 
  • 1 jar of pace hot sauce (I used spicy, you can use medium or mild however)
  • 1 large container of ricotta cheese (I used fat free)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 bag of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Crushed red pepper, pepper, and basil
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees 
  2. boil pasta according to package directions, drain, set aside.
  3. slice red potatoes and boil (note: potatoes should not be soft, but still firm-they cook more in the oven)
  4. chop onion, mince garlic, cut zucchini into half-moon slices. Saute vegetables in a large skillet or wok in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add crushed red pepper and pepper to taste. 
  5. Add can of diced tomato, cook several minutes. 
  6. Add the jar of pasta sauce and the jar of pace hot sauce. Continue to cook.
  7. Meanwhile-microwave 1 cup of frozen broccoli and in a large bowl combine broccoli, entire large container of ricotta cheese, 1 egg, and 1/2 bag of mozzarella cheese.
  8. add basil and potatoes to red sauce mixture, cook 1 more minute. 
  9. in a large baking dish, put down 1 layer of cooked noodles in a vertical direction. Top with red sauce. Top with cheese mixture. Then add another layer of noodles in a horizontal direction. Again top this layer first with red sauce, then with cheese mixture. Finally, top with a last layer of vertical noodles. Add the other 1/2 bag of shredded mozzarella on top and 1/2 the bag of shredded Parmesan. 
  10. Cook in oven for about 30-40 minutes, cheese should be melted, lasagna should be firm, top of lasagna just starting to brown. 
  11. Eat and enjoy! 

Total prep and cook time- 1 hour. It's not super fast, but hey, for lasagna that's pretty fast!
Deliciousness factor- 5 out of 5 stars. Even Brendan, who hates giving 5 stars agrees. The spicy flavor, the heartiness, and the deliciousness of this lasagna won him over. As for me, I love that it's filling, loaded with tomato and cheese flavor, and makes enough for me to have it for lunch and dinner all week. If I'm having guests for dinner, this is one of my go to recipes because everyone enjoys it. I serve it with wine, bread, and my famous strawberry salad (recipe to come, one day).

Erica and I at my 25th birthday, 2 years after the famed Lasagna cooking incident.
Thanks Erica!
Here's to friendship and lasagna, and friendship with lasagna.
<3 S, L&Z

P.S. Remember our post of best, almost free date ideas?  One of the ideas was to make dinner together and rent a movie. Ellie Stevens, author of the blog best senior dating sites, emailed me and asked if I would include her post about 10 movies to rent for a date in one of my posts. So, check out her picks and blog, and enjoy date-night lasagna and a movie!

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