Monday, May 12, 2008

Cookbook Challenge: Vegetarian Lasagna

It's a new month, so it's time for a new Cookbook Challenge. This month I decided to try more recipes from a cookbook I already use a lot: Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentiis. I love the simplicity of a lot of Giada's recipes, and I almost always have fantastic results from her recipes. This is a crazy busy month, with moving and Joe getting ready for his level 2 CFA test, so I thought I'd keep it simple.

For the first week, I chose Individual Vegetarian Lasagnas. I made one big pan, though, to save myself a bit of extra work. I changed a few things, and ended up wishing I'd stuck more to the original recipe. My biggest change was using ricotta instead of canellini beans, which ended up being pretty bland. I could have tried more salt & pepper or spices, but next time I think I'll just stick with the original recipe. The chopped veggies were a lot of work, but tasted fresh and healthy. I do think I'd add a few more spices to the veggies, but I was happy with them overall. Also, I used more sauce than recommended. It was one of those recipes that I might try again to hopefully improve, but I'm really not sure if it's worth the effort. If anyone tries this, let me know your suggestions!

This is the original recipe from Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentiis

Individual Vegetarian Lasagnas
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.


Anonymous said...

Looks delicious!

Vicarious Foodie said...

This sounds like a really interesting and delicious recipe. I've been wondering if this cook book was any good. I'd like to try this dish. I wonder if the ramekins I have are the right size....

Nicole said...

Yum. I made a recipe once with sort of individual lasagnas. I think it was from Giada.