Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spinach, Mushroom and Pesto Lasagna

When I was growing up, my Mom kind of took meatless Lenten meals to the extreme. Not only was it forbidden to eat meat, she was fairly adamant about making sure we ate something that we really didn't like. There were no Friday night fish fries at the Legion Hall for us. Not once in my childhood did a Phil A. O'Fish sandwich cross my lips. I think that in her eyes, dining out on Fridays in Lent was a sin. (Although to this day I'm not really sure if it was a mortal sin or merely a venial sin. I should probably check that out, eh?) We were made to be content eating our tin of sardines with a handful of saltine crackers or maybe a grilled cheese sandwich would pop up occasionally if we pretended it didn't taste very good. (Feeling sorry for me yet? Don't. I look back on those days and wish I had half the willpower now that I had then, even if it was forced upon me at the time.)

So Mom... I'm feeling a little guilty and remain thankful that you don't have a computer and will never see what I made for Ash Wednesday this year, because I think it might actually be one of the most delicious meals I've ever made! And, I'll eat sardines on Friday.... I promise.

Spinach, Mushroom and Pesto Lasagna

9 lasagna noodles
10 oz chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP butter
2 cups diced onion
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
dash of crushed red pepper flakes
8 ounces of button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups Half & Half
3/4 cup plus 2 TBSP basil pesto
12 oz mozzarella cheese (I used slices)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8" X 11 1/2" baking dish with cooking spray.

In a separate baking dish place lasagna noodles and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 15 minutes while making the sauce.

In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta cheese, garlic powder and egg. Season well with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large skillet heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onions and bell pepper, season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes and saute until onions are translucent, 6-7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to saute until mushrooms lose their moisture, another 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or two. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to combine. Continue cooking and stirring over medium heat for two minutes. Add the milk and half & half, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes until sauce has thickened a bit. Remove from heat and stir in 3/4 cup pesto. Taste to see if salt and pepper are needed.

Drain lasagna noodles.

Spoon 2 TBSP of the pesto on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Lay three noodles on top of the pesto. Top with 1/3 of the basil cream sauce (about 1 1/2 cups) and spread to cover noodles. Dollop 1/3 of the ricotta mixture on top of the sauce, then top the ricotta with 1/3 of the cheese slices. Repeat layers two more times. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place dish in oven. Bake for 25 minutes, uncover, then bake for another 25 minutes, until bubbly and browned. Let dish sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

38 comments:

Lynda said...

This is one of the best lasagnas I've seen in a while... there must be tons of flavor with the pesto added in!
Yuck to the canned sardines! :)

The Mom Chef said...

That is one amazing lasagna. Wow. I love anything spinach and mushroom. You could have thrown in the bathroom sink and I'd have been happy.

Well, maybe not sardines. Seriously? You were forced to eat that? Copy what Lynda says.

YourTeaLife said...

Thanks for the delicious looking recipe and the trip down memory lane. Lent was a tough time at my house too when I was a child. My mom had amazing will power!

Nanan said...

Lovely!!!! I am fixing shrimp curry! I almost feel guilty for fixing bacon for Camille Ana this morning - but I didn't eat any and I said a Hail Mary when I cooked it - so I think we are ok! Besides - aren't children, the ill, and the elderly considered exempt - oh and soldiers...

Mary said...

Oh, Mags! This looks fabulous! I've never attempted Lasagna but this is certainly tempting me!

Mary xx
Delightful Bitefuls

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Mags, you had me at pesto. This looks amazing!! I'm always on the lookout for more vegetarian fare as well as different lasanga recipes instead of just the old red sauce variety. Now if I could just will my basil plant to grow faster so I can make some pesto!!

egbkid said...

Looks delicious, and fancy! I have had pesto in red lasagna before, but not with a white sauce.

SeattleDee said...

Sounds yummy, as much a comfort food as mac and cheese. I'll probably mess with the recipe a bit and add some poblano chile pepper chunks - just can't help myself.

Kat said...

That looks so good. My mouth is watering. Thanks for sharing, I will have to give this one a try.

June said...

Wow - this looks fabulous Mags and what a great way to use up that pesto hiding in the freezer. I can't wait to try it...think I can get this meatless, green, spinach filled dish by the big guy? PS - he loves sardines. Go figure!

Natalie said...

Whoa--Yum! This reminds me of another great meatless lasagna that I absolutely recommend: http://www.thesweetslife.com/2011/01/portobello-mushroom-and-almond-pesto.html

Barbara said...

Wow. Your mom was really strict! And here I thought mine was the worst! We did eat fish every friday, being a Catholic family, but I don't remember any restrictions on meat on the other nights. (or maybe I've forgotten!)
This looks like a fabulous lasagna, Mags!

scrambledhenfruit said...

We're trying to do a few meatless meals each week- this lasagna looks delicious!

Carrie @ Cottage Cozy said...

Mags...you have outdone yourself! Yum

Moogie said...

Mags..... can I come over for dinner?

M.J. Jacobsen said...

I'm on my way.........!! Freeze it, I will be there!! :)

Jackie said...

Hi

Did you use the no-boil lasagna noodles or the regular lasagna noodles for this recipe.

Mags @ the Other Side of 50 said...

Jackie: I used regular lasagna noodles

Anonymous said...

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Rosemary said...

I'm a sucker for lasagne of any kind -- but this one's really caught my fancy, and I think it's going to happen at my house on Friday. (I was going to have linguine with clam sauce -- till this!)

Debbie said...

What a wonderful way to make lasagna! This looks sooo good. I remember growing up not being able to eat meat on Fridays. My mom is not the "best" cook in the world so we had fish. But we always ended up having bones in the fish so for years I couldn't stand fish. Now I could eat it every day!!!! (I do like sardines!!!).

Tink's Spin said...

OH my I am in love with your recipes,, so different and I need to lose weight after I quit smoking I gain to much,, I will just have a few bits and then leave, thanks, Tink

Cookin' Canuck said...

I'll bet if your mum ate a piece of this gorgeous lasagne, she would forgive any Lenten "indiscretions" without question.

Katrina said...

Ooh, that looks and sounds delicious!

Aggie said...

this looks absolutely heavenly. total comfort food!

Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food said...

My family didn't observe Lent, so it was never a form of deprivation to feel aggrieved about when we were kids. But Mom made up for it with her world-class budget-consciousness applied to all meals and didn't serve much meat. I totally adore this veggie lasagne, Mags, and I think even Mom would agree!

marla said...

Now this is a gorgeous lasagna!!

Shelby said...

Looks sooo yummy. Of course, I'd be the only one eating it here....since mr picky will only eat lasagna packed full of meat.

Unknown said...

I made this yesterday and I added chopped asparagus and used fresh spinach sauteed in garlic and red pepper. It was so delicious, thanks so much for posting it!

lettuce said...

I made this for my husband tonight and it was AMAZING! Thanks for a great recipe to add to my repitoire! Thanks!

Erin said...

So intrigued!! I have a bridal shower next weekend, can't wait to try this out.
I've never made lasagna...would it be bad to double and use a bigger pan?

Mags @ the Other Side of 50 said...

Erin: You could try, but I think you'd have better results making the lasagna in two pans.

Crepes Suzettes said...

I have shared this on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/crepesuzettenet) and plan on making it tonight, adding a little French twist to it. This looks so good! I will let you know how mine turned out. THank you

Brian and Nicole said...

You are a genius. I made this for dinner tonight and LOVED it! Hubby loved it too. I think this is the best meal I have ever made. If I owned a restaurant, this is what I would serve.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if this could be made ahead (just shy of actually baking) and frozen for a meal later in the month?

Katie said...

Would it still work well if I substituted whole milk for 2% or would that ruin the consistency of the sauce?

Mags @ the Other Side of 50 said...

Katie: 2% milk should work ok without too much of a noticeable loss of creaminess. If you try it let me know!

Anonymous said...

Saw this on pinterest and tried it today - delicious! I added double the mushrooms (we love them), didn't chop them up, and actually used canned mushrooms. Also skipped the red pepper flakes - it was great! Oh, and used ready bake noodles (no boiling required)...still turned out great! Thanks for the recipe!