Italians close their businesses for several hours each afternoon to enjoy a long, leisurely lunch, and then work late into the night. In the States, we take about 30 minutes for our lunch. Enjoy the best of both worlds: make this lasagna a day ahead and pack a serving to microwave for lunch.
Recipe submitted by Laurence R. Smith, II, Director of Marketing, HPV Franchise, Merck & Co., Inc.
- 12 lasagna noodles, uncooked
- 2 medium carrots, sliced diagonally
- 1 medium onion, cut in half and each half sliced
- 1 cup of celery, thinly sliced (or fennel), fresh)
- 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced diagonally
- 1 1/2 cups of spinach leaves, fresh
- 1 cup of sliced mushrooms, fresh
- 1 15-ounce container, part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup of fresh basil, chopped
- 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
- 4 cups of marinara sauce, jarred or homemade
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook noodles until slightly chewy, about 8 minutes.
- Drain and carefully drape noodles over side of colander.
- While pasta boils, sauté carrots, onion, celery and bell pepper in skillet with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, stirring frequently.
- When veggies are fork tender, add zucchini, spinach and mushrooms. Sauté until spinach wilts and all veggies are tender.
- In a small bowl, combine ricotta, egg, 1/4 cup Parmesan, basil and parsley.
- Spray casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Spoon about 1/2 cup sauce into bottom of casserole dish. Reserve 1/4 cup mozzarella.
- Arrange four noodles overlapping in casserole dish, top with about 1/3 the vegetable mixture, 1/3 the ricotta mixture, 1 cup sauce, 1/4 cup mozzarella and 1 tablespoon Parmesan.
- Repeat, layering two more times, ending with sauce.
- Sprinkle top with remaining mozzarella, and bake 35–40 minutes until top is crusty.
This recipe makes 8 servings.
Nutritional Analysis (per serving)
- 351 calories
- 18 grams protein
- 45 grams carbohydrates
- 11 grams fat (5 grams saturated fat)