Eating Italian on Cinco de Mayo

5 05 2011

Happy Cinco de Mayo Friends! We probably should be here sharing a special Taco recipe or delicious Margarita recipe to celebrate, but we aren’t that good at planning 🙂 So, on 321delish today, Italian it is! If you do want a great Mango Guac recipe though, head over to How Sweet Eats! Jessica’s recipes are AMAZING.  I (Chloe) was not feeling well last night so asked Steph to fill in for me today. She had a great recipe post ready to go!

Steph’s Hearty Cheesy Vegetable Lasagna!

Lasagna’s not something I typically make for myself, mostly because you end up with leftovers for a week… And, if I was left on my own to eat it, lasagna would start oozing from my ears. It’s a much better meal to make when someone’s there to help you eat it 🙂 So, I had a special visitor a few weeks ago, and his request was for a really good vegetable lasagna that we could make/eat together.

I spent some time looking at a few recipes: I checked out Tastespotting and my Moosewood Restaurant cookbook, and a few of my favorite blogs. I finally decided that we’d make our own version, drawing from The Pioneer Woman’s recipe and the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook. Of course it would be “really good” when we’re making it up as we go along!

Here’s the step by step:

First, start boiling water for your lasagna noodles. I had a BIG pot of water on the stove and it took FOREVER to boil! Mental note: use this pot next time:

While the water’s boiling, prep your veggies:



I forgot to get a picture of the onions, but that’s probably because I wanted to chop as quickly as possible, since I wasn’t wearing eye protection.

In a pan, sauté the onions in a little olive oil. When they’ve softened and started to brown a little, add the mushrooms.

When the mushrooms are cooked through, add two cans of diced tomatoes. I always buy Muir Glen’s fire roasted diced tomatoes.

Stir until heated through, and then add the broccoli. Turn up the heat on the stove a little, so that the sauce begins to bubble. This will cook off some of the water, and cook the broccoli. Season with salt, pepper, and if you’d like, some Italian seasoning. We used basil, parsley, and oregano.

Now, at this point, hopefully your water is boiling, and you can cook the noodles as directed on the box. When ours were done, we dipped the noodles in an ice bath, just so they’d hold their shape and not get sticky when we layered them.

While the noodles are cooking, prep your cheeses. Make sure you have mozzarella (you can buy pre-shredded, or not. We decided to buy a log of it and slice it), shredded or finely grated parmesan, and a ricotta mixture. In the ricotta mixture, we combined the following:

1 15 ounce carton of ricotta cheese

1 cup of cottage cheese

2 beaten eggs

a handful of parmesan cheese (real technical, I know)

Italian seasoning (to taste)

salt + pepper

Now, begin the layering. Start with a layer of sauce:

Then a layer of noodles and the layer of the ricotta mixture:

Then layer on some baby spinach, and then some mozzarella slices:


We were able to get three layers of pasta on there. After the last layer of pasta, top with sauce, spinach, mozzarella, and some shredded parmesan. Bake in a 350º oven for 35 minutes.

Let it stand for 10 minutes when it comes out of the oven, before cutting into this deliciousness:

Now you can dig in!

Question of the day: Are you a veggie lasagna kind of person, or a meat lasagna kind of person?

Question 2 of the day: How are you celebrating Cinco de Mayo!?