Thursday, November 13, 2008

Individual Vegetable Lasagnas

Cook Time: 20 min
Level: Intermediate
Yield: 6 servings


* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 medium Spanish onion, finely chopped
* 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
* 1 medium zucchini, finely chopped
* 1 medium summer squash, finely chopped
* 8 asparagus spears, cut into 1/4-inch slices
* 1 pound fresh plain lasagna sheets
* 2 cups tomato sauce, recipe follows
* 1 1/2 cups canned white beans, rinsed and drained
* 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
* 3 cups shredded mozzarella
* 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, halved
* Salt and freshly ground pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a saute pan over medium heat, add extra-virgin olive oil. When
almost smoking, add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the carrot and cook for 3 minutes. Add the zucchini and squash
cook for 5 minutes. Add asparagus and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from
heat when all vegetables are completely cooked but still have a good
crunch. Allow to cool.

Using a 6-inch round cookie cutter, cut circles out of the lasagna
sheets. You will need 18 circles. Coat the bottom of 6 (6-inch) gratin
dishes with a teaspoon of tomato sauce in each. Place a circle of
pasta on the bottom of each ramekin. Rinse the beans with water and
season with salt and pepper. Divide the beans between each ramekin.
Next, divide the spinach between the ramekins. Place a second layer of
pasta on top and gently press down. Divide the sauteed vegetables
among the ramekins and top with a tablespoon of tomato sauce in each.
Place the third layer of pasta in each ramekin and coat with a
tablespoon of tomato sauce. Sprinkle ramekins with the mozzarella and
Parmesan cheeses, and top each with 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Line a
baking sheet with aluminum foil and place gratin dishes on top. Bake
in oven for 20 minutes or until brown and bubbling.

Simple Tomato Sauce:

Yield: 6 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Ease of Preparation: Easy

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional

In a large casserole pot or Dutch over, heat oil over medium high
heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about
5 to 10 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and
pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 to 10
minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer uncovered on low heat
for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning.
If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a
time to round out the flavors.

Add 1/2 the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process
until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.

If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 1 to
2 cup portions into freezer plastic bags. This will freeze up to 6


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