When you’re having guests over for dinner, it’s so great to have something easy you can make in advance. We had friends over for a little dinner party last weekend, and served up this vegetable-packed lasagna. The swiss chard nicely complemented the mushrooms and onions, making for a wonderfully spring dinner. Mark Bittman’s no-knead easy bread made a nice accompaniment.
Roughly chop a yellow onion and four cloves of garlic. Saute in olive oil over medium heat, along with some fresh rosemary and thyme. Once the onions start to become translucent, add several handfuls of sliced crimini mushrooms and keep sautéing until the mushrooms release their water and start to cook down and look delicious.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté up several cloves of chopped garlic in a bit of olive oil. Then add two large cans of chopped tomatoes, some salt and pepper, several pinches of sugar, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Bring to a bubble, and then let it simmer and cook down, tasting from time to time and adding herbs, salt and pepper as needed to make a lovely red sauce.
In a bowl, mix several pinches of nutmeg, two raw eggs, and a container of ricotta. Forced to choose between full fat and nonfat ricotta, we actually chose nonfat, and it turned out to taste just fine. Who knew.
Take a generous helping of swiss chard from the garden or super market – probably ten or twelve or fourteen leaves. Chop them up coarsely, and then sauté them over medium heat with some olive oil and garlic until they wilt and are droopy.
In a fun big bowl, mix all of the sautéed vegetables – the onions, mushrooms and chard.
Preheat the oven to 375 if you plan to make the lasagna now, or assemble and then store in the fridge covered with foil until you’re ready to make it – maybe the next day…
We thought we’d experiment by not cooking the lasagna noodles beforehand. It was risky, but it paid off. The lasagna turned out just fine. So, if you feel comfortable not cooking the lasagna noodles, you can save yourself a bit of time by doing the same.
Pour some red sauce in the bottom of your casserole dish. Then layer a layer of overlapping lasagna noodles, followed by the vegetable mixture. Then put a lasagna noodle layer on top, followed by the ricotta layer, with some red sauce. Then another layer of lasagna noodles, some red sauce, some grated mozzarella cheese, and voila! Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes, until the cheese is golden and the lasagna is bubbling away.