Slow and Easy Cooking
Nine times out of ten when I’m cooking a meal it’s done Fast and Furious Cook style, because I have a full schedule like most of you and don’t want to be in the kitchen more than neccesary. There are times though when I might take 30 minutes to prep something and an hour to cook it. Today was one of those times, as I like to have some quick and healthy re-heat type meals in the freezer for days when there just isn’t time to cook. I think of lasagna as a comfort food. Even back in my elementary school days I loved the stuff from the school cafeteria, or any place I could get it. Lasagna is a dish like pizza where most of it is pretty good by virtue of the ingredients. When you put together an Italian tomato sauce and cheese good things happen. Add beef, pork or vegies and it gets better yet.
I brought back some lovely portabello mushroom caps from The Woodlands at Phillips Mushrooms in Kennett Square, PA Saturday and went to work with a new recipe developed right here at Fast and Furious Central for lasagna. This recipe combines the usual Italian tomato sauce(my home made sauce from heirloom tomatoes from my garden) with two kinds of cheese, broccoli, zucchini, and the portabello mushrooms to make a mighty good vegetarian lasagna. A hot and steamy hunk of lasagna is hard to beat on a chilly fall evening. Served with a nice side of garlic bread and you are set for some good eating. Now I’ll admit that this isn’t quite as healthy as most of my recipes, but without the meat it has significantly less calories as other lasagna recipes. I also omitted the ricotta, or cottage cheese. Give it a try and see if you believe like I do that mushrooms can replace meat in many recipes without leaving you feeling hungry soon after dinner.
Portabello Mushroom Lasagna with Vegetables
3 portabello mushroom caps stem removed
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 3/4 cup marinara sauce, or store bought spaghetti sauce
1 small zucchini sliced
1 1/2 cups chopped or sliced fresh broccoli
1 small red bell pepper sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
3/4 cup shredded parmigiano reggiano cheese
lasagna sheets, cooked per directions on package
1 tablespoon mixed Italian herbs, optional
Slice Portabello mushrooms 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick and saute on medium heat in olive oil for 4 minutes. Turn mushroom slices over and cook 3 more minutes. Remove to a plate for assembly. Prep a 11×7 in baking pan with a bit of olive oil before laying lasagna sheets on the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce on the lasagna and then lay half of the mushrooms on top. Next lay the zucchini slices on top and then sprinkle about a 1/4 cup of the mozzarella. Lay more lasagna sheets on top and top with 1/2 cup sauce, mushrooms, broccoli, and 1/4 cup of cheese. Add one more layer of lasagna sheets, then top with remaining sauce mushrooms, bell peppers, and cheeses.
Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees covered, then reduce heat and continue baking for 40 minutes covered. Uncover and bake for 10-15 more minutes, then remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.
Serves four to six.
Yellow squash can be used in place of zucchini.
Eggplant can be used in place of broccoli, but should be cooked in the saute pan after the mushrooms for 4 minutes each side.
I used no-boil whole wheat noodles and it turned out great. If you have to boil your noodles it adds about 20 minutes to the prep time.