Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day: Spinach and Tomato Lasagna

2012 is a big year. Literally.  February 29th here in Aspen is full of powder snow and great skiing, so we are thankful for this extra day.  After a pathetically slow start to the season, snow is in the forecast for the next week on and off.  The hubby and I love Italian food.  There seem to be endless delightful concoctions focused on starch, cheese and tomato sauce.  Lasagna is a particular house favorite, and a great way to incorporate some healthier aspects into the starch/cheese/sauce combination.  I created this recipe by trial and error.  When i searched online, I found that most spinach lasagna is topped with a very rich cream sauce, so I created a much lighter version with great flavor.  The addition of tofu adds similar texture to ricotta cheese, but if it scares you, leave it out.  The sauce recipe included here can be used with many other pastas.  Buon appetito.

Spinach Lasagna with Tomato Sauce

For the Sauce
2 15oz cans diced tomatoes, preferably not seasoned
1 sprig basil
1 large clove garlic, peeled and smashed
2-3 sprigs parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup red wine
Salt and pepper to taste

For the Lasagna

1 bunch spinach
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium zucchini, grated
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 lb lasagna pasta, prepared according to package
1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, or less if you are being healthy
4 oz chevere or other soft goat cheese
1/2 block firm tofu
2 tablespoons chopped basil

1. Heat all ingredients except wine over medium heat until boiling, then reduce to simmer and cook 15-20 minutes.
2. Remove basil, garlic and parsley.
3. Transfer to blender and puree, or use an immersion blender.
4. Add wine and simmer 5 minutes more, then set aside.

1. Rinse spinach and remove stems, then blanch in boiling water 30 seconds to 1 minute until just wilted. Transfer immediately to a bowl of cold water.
2. Wring spinach in paper towel until much of the water is removed, and chop coarsely.  Set aside.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Add onions, and saute until translucent (about 3 minutes).
4.  Add mushrooms and cook 1 minute longer before adding zucchini, garlic and oregano.  Saute until all ingredients are soft.  Set aside.
5.  Press the water out of the tofu with paper towels, then crumble.  Set aside.
6. Crumble goat cheese and slice mozzarella into thin slices.
7. Assemble the lasagna.  Begin with a thin layer of sauce and then your first layer of pasta. Alternate ingredients to form 3-4 layers.  Top with 1/2 cup reserved sauce, mozzarella slices, and basil.
8. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, then uncover and bake 10 minutes more until cheese begins to bubble and brown.

1 comment:

  1. How did you know tofu would scare me? ;) Looks yum! Happy March! - V