Yesterday was Valentine's Day, and I felt inspired to make Mr. Man something new and scrumptious for a lovely evening. Behold, the Romance Lasagna!
- Mike's red sauce or any marinara you enjoy (recipe follows)
- 2 packages frozen spinach, thawed
- 1 large white onion, sliced into thick halfmoons
- 1 whole head of garlic, roasted in foil and olive oil for 45 minutes at 400 degrees
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 package lasagna noodles (for this I used no boil to save a little time)
- 1 pasture-raised egg, lightly beaten and at room temperature
- 1 15oz container part-skim ricotta cheese at room temperature
- 2 cups mozzarella, shredded and divided (get the brick mozzarella so your dish isn't runny)
- 3/4 cup Parmesan reggiano, shredded and divided (never out of the green can please!)
- 2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
- 2 tbsp flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper to season
Mike's red sauce ingredients and directions:
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (or whatever tomato style you like, such as whole peeled or diced)
- leftover onion, diced (1/2 or so)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 c red wine (whatever you have in the fridge)
- 2 tbsp of your favorite seasonal herbs, chopped (I used parsley and oregano for this dish)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to season
1. Heat the oil in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and a large pinch of salt and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Toss in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2. Pour in the wine and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to catch any onion remnants that may have cooked down. Reduce the wine until there's about 2 tbsp left in the pot.
3. Pour in the tomatoes. Swish about 1/4 cup water in the can and add that to the pot. Add in the herbs, and season with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to your liking. Simmer for about 30 minutes while you prep the rest of the dish.
(This recipe is a great staple for your kitchen! We call it Mike's Red Sauce because when I made it for him, he liked it so much he started requesting that I only use this recipe as the base of my sauces.)
And now on to the lasagna, step by step:
1. Caramelize the onions in about 2 tbsp olive oil on medium high heat. To do this, you'll add the onions to the pan when the oil is shimmering, add the onions and a large pinch of salt, toss around to disperse evenly in the pan, then cover for about 10 minutes. Uncover and stir to make sure all onions are brown.
2. Put the mushrooms into the pan with another tbsp olive oil and a large pinch of salt, then saute uncovered until the mushrooms look a little browner.
3. In the meantime, squeeze the water out of the spinach using a cheesecloth or a rag.
4. Push the onions and mushrooms to the side of the pan and place the spinach on the empty side with some salt and pepper. (Notice how we're seasoning every layer here? Super important!) Use your wooded spoon to break up the spinach for even cooking. Once the spinach starts to wilt, combine it with the onions and mushrooms and reduce the heat to low to keep warm.
5. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves into the pan and mix together for a great flavor.
6. Place the egg, herbs, ricotta cheese, 1/4 c Parm cheese, and 1 cup mozzarella into a bowl and whisk to combine. Add salt and pepper to season.
7. In a smaller bowl, mix the Parm and the mozzarella with your fingers. This is your topping.
8. Preheat your oven to 375 while you're layering the lasagna.
9. To layer, place 1/2 cup red sauce in the bottom of a lightly oiled 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Place lasagna noodles into the dish as they fit for you. The layering then proceeds as such:
- 1/2 cup red sauce
- 1/2 cup ricotta mixture
- 1/3 vegetables
Proceed until you've done 3 layers, or you're evenly running out of ingredients.
10. Once you've reached the top, place the remaining red sauce on top of the last of the noodles. Evenly sprinkle the cheese on top. Cover in foil and bake for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes, until the cheese is starting to get golden and the dish is bubbly. Let it sit for as long as you bear.
Is this a little work? Definitely! But cooking for your loved ones is a pleasure, not a chore. Enjoy your hard work; whoever you're cooking this for sure will!
Till next time,
Dallas Farmer Gal