Monday, December 16, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Treats Day 11: Lasagna

Another Christmas tradition my Mom started is the Christmas Day Lasagna. She got tired of cooking her tail off all day on Christmas to make a turkey happen so she started baking lasagnas on Christmas Eve and re-heating them on Christmas day. She used jarred sauce, and you certainly can, too, but I like to make my own sauce.  This lasagna uses uncooked noodles.  Don't worry, you can use any lasagna noodle, you don't have to buy the fancy no-cook ones.  Trust me on this, it works!  My friend Susan has been doing it this way for years, and I have too since she told me about it.

Make-ahead vegetarian lasagna for Christmas dinner
1 Tbs olive oil
1 C roughly chopped onion
¾ C roughly chopped green pepper (about 1 medium)
2 C sliced button mushrooms
½ portobello mushroom, cubed, gills and stems removed
2 cloves garlic, pressed
¼ C white wine
1 Tbs tomato paste
3 C canned crushed tomatoes and juice (I used some I canned myself, it took 2 pints)
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 Tbs basil

In a large frying pan, heat olive oil then add onion, green pepper, button and portobello mushrooms and cook over medium-high heat for 5-8 minutes until vegetables have softened, but not browned. Press garlic into pan and cook until the aroma blooms, about 10 seconds. Deglaze the pan with with white wine and cook until wine has boiled off. Add tomato paste, tomatoes, and salt and pepper. Boil for 10 minutes, until the mixture is more sauce and less soup. Turn off heat and stir in oregano and basil. Hold off to the side while you assemble the lasagna or keep in fridge for a few days until you're ready to use it.

Make ahead vegetarian lasagna for Christmas dinner

1 box whole wheat lasagna noodles, uncooked
1 sauce recipe
32 oz ricotta
5 oz fresh spinach, washed and lightly drained
4 oz chanterelle or button mushrooms
8 oz mozzarella, shredded

1 slice carrot, cut into star shape (alt, yellow pepper)
½ green pepper, sliced
4 cherry tomatoes, halved

Preheat oven to 325°. Place three uncooked noodles in the base of a 9X13 inch pan. Snap a quarter piece off another noodle and place it across the short side of the pan where the other noodles don't touch. Pour ½ of the sauce recipe over the noodles. Then ½ of the ricotta cheese. Shake the extra water off the spinach, but not to the point of being totally dry, and add a spinach layer. Next comes another layer of lasagna noodles, this time using four and ¾ noodles. The rest of the sauce comes next. Then a layer of chanterelle or button mushrooms. Carefully spoon the remaining ricotta cheese over the mushrooms to create a white field. Top with shredded mozzarella. Arrange the green peppers into a tree shape, decorate it with red cherry tomato ornaments, and top it with the carrot star! Bake for 1 hour or until the noodles are soft. To put in the fridge, just let cool, cover with plastic or aluminum, and re-heat in the oven at 350° covered until warm (about 45 minutes).

Make ahead Vegetarian Lasagna for Christmas Dinner


We love this lasagna (even though my youngest will tell you he hates it, once he figures out it's like pizza and pasta all mixed up together, two servings will be in his belly before the night is out).  You can make it with meat or any filling you like, ours is hardly ever the same twice!

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