Red, White And Green Lasagne

The colours of the Italian flag! I am always on the look-out for really good vegetarian pasta dishes and think this one is really, really good.

Makes 8 Servings

_DSC0993.jpg nx22 Tbsp. EVOO
3 large red bell peppers, chopped
15 oz. ricotta cheese, (I prefer Scardillo Geniuna** it’s creamy & not grainy)
1 ½ lbs. broccoli, flowerets cut into ¾” pieces & stems cut into ½” dice
2 cups rich winter tomato sauce (recipe below), freeze the remainder for another use.
12 (7 x3 ½”) sheets dry no-boil lasagne pasta
10 oz. mozzarella, grated (about 2 ½ cups)
1 ¼ cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

**Pepperoncino (red chili flakes) to taste, perhaps 1/8 – 1/4 tsp.)

Rich Winter Tomato Sauce:

Makes about 2 or 3 cups (you will need 2 cups for the lasagna, the remainder can be frozen for another time).  I normally make a double batch of the sauce & freeze for another use.  Why not?  It makes life a little easier at the end of a busy day.

1 ½ oz. sun dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
1 cup boiling water
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 – 28 or 32 oz. tinned Italian plum tomatoes, chopped, juice reserved
Salt & pepper to taste

In a small bowl soak dried tomatoes in boiling water 30 minutes & drain in a sieve set over a bowl. Chop tomatoes coarsely.

Meanwhile as the dried tomatoes are soaking, in a saucepan cook onion & garlic in butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add tinned tomatoes with their juice, the soaked dried tomatoes, salt & pepper to taste & simmer sauce, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.

Puree sauce through the fine disk of a food mill or force it through a coarse sieve set over a bowl. You can make this sauce up to 1 week ahead & keep covered & chilled.

Make the Lasagna:

In a large skillet, heat oil over moderately high heat & sauté bell peppers, stirring, until crisp-tender. In a bowl stir together bell peppers & ricotta until well combined. In a steamer, steam the broccoli, covered, until crisp-tender, 3 – 5 minutes; stir into ricotta mixture; season to taste with salt & pepper.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Pour 1 cup rich winter tomato sauce into a deep ceramic or glass baking dish (13 x 9 x 2”), sauce will not cover bottom completely, cover with 3 lasagna sheets, trying not to let them touch. Drop about 1 ½ cups ricotta mixture by spoonfuls onto pasta & gently spread with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with ¾ cup mozzarella & 1/3 cup Parmigiano over ricotta mixture & make 2 more layers in same manner, beginning & ending with the last of the pasta sheets. Spread remaining cup of tomato sauce over pasta, making sure pasta is completely covered; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella & Parmigiano.

Place a sheet of baking parchment over the lasagna, then a layer of foil; bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil & baking parchment & continue baking about 10 minutes more, or until top is bubbling. Let lasagna stand for 15 minutes to settle before serving.

The use of baking parchment, prevents the cheese from sticking to the foil & it helps keep the steam in to cook the lasagna.

You can find Scardillo Geniuna at most Italian grocery stores.

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