Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Veggie Lasagna

I am enjoying cooking South Beach quite a bit, but the recipe aren't all that complex, I haven't felt all that challenged. So when I saw the Vegetable Lasagna recipe in Savuer I had to do it.

I tweaked this recipe a bit, using whole wheat lasagna noodles, which I cooked, fat-free condensed milk (Thanks Erika!) and less butter. I also substituted portabello/crimini for the shitake because two pounds of those would have cost me almost $40 versus $10 for the portabello/crimini. Here's the ingredient list.

6 tbsp. unsalted butter
12 sun-dried tomatoes
2 shallot, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1⁄2 cup flour
5 cups no-fat condensed milk
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 lbs. portabello mushrooms, stemmed, quartered
1 lbs crimini, sliced (yes, I know portabello and crimini are the same, I used some really big ones and some smaller ones with this recipe)
1⁄2 lb. spinach, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. chopped oregano
1 tbsp. chopped thyme
1 tbsp. chopped rosemary
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 cups dry red wine
5 cups whole canned tomatoes, crushed
1 lb. Whole wheat lasagna noodles
2 1⁄2 cups grated grana padano
2 1⁄2 cups grated fontina

I switched things around a bit and made the tomato sauce first. I cooked the mushrooms in batches as to not overcrowd the pan so they were sauteed and not steamed. I added a shallot to the tomato sauce as well to give a little extra flavor. Once I had everything in the pot it seemed kind of dry so I added a cup or two of red wine and let it cook with everything.

The other reason I made the tomato sauce first was because I had never made a béchamel. I know the tomato sauce could cook for awhile and hold, I was so sure about the béchamel. The sauce came together pretty easily, thickening pretty quickly. I had to put a few pinches of salt in here to tone down the sweetness, but in all honestly I didn't know what to expect.

Other than cooking the noodles, you can follow the Savuer recipe the rest of the way, except before you place it in the oven, you might want to put some foil down, some of the liquid pushed out of the lasagna and was dripping on to the bottom of the oven. Since my mom has made her fair share of lasagnas in the past I knew this trick and prevented too much smoke.

The end result was fantastic. I haven't cooked anything this good or different in awhile. I wasn't sure how the béchamel would work with the tomato sauce and cheese but it had this depth of flavor that I haven't really tasted before. The only problem is Rory and I have a whole pan of this sitting in the fridge and we'll be eating it all week. This is definitely something I will make for a dinner party in the future. Also, while I did try to watch the calories in this, it's still not all that healthy, lot's of cheese, but it's better than the original recipe.


Erika said...

Glad it worked out! I will have to try this recipe. Where did you get the whole wheat noodles? Did Jewel have them? Our grocery does not.

Zack said...

Originally I didn't see them at my Dominick's and Rory got them at the Jewel she goes to at Roscoe and Ashland (I think). But I later saw them at the Dominick's, just in a weird place.

Yeah, I can't stress enough, this turned out really, really well. Best thing I've made in awhile.

erika said...

I noticed you said something about the bechamel being sweet. Then I thought a second--did I tell you to use condensed milk? I hope I didn't, and I am sorry if I did! I think that condensed milk is a lot sweeter than evaporated milk. The cans look the same too. I have bought condensed milk instead of evapoated and vice versa. And they are usually next to eachother on the shelf. They are easy to confuse.

Nevertheless, I am glad it turned out well.

Thanks for the tip on the noodles!

Zack said...

Hmmm, hard to say, took the garbage out and can't remember, it definitely is a possibility though. And it still turned out.

Katie said...

That sounds delicious! And I think it would be great for a dinner party or regular party - so when do you guys think you'll have another one? :P