Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Recipe : Melissa's Vegetarian Leftover Lasagna

Leftover Lasagna

You know what I love about lasagna? Everything! For serious folks, is there anything this dish cannot be or do? With the exception of dancing a jig I say nay. It can have lots of meat, or no meat. Red sauce or white sauce. Roasted veggies or raw or even no veggies (although why would you?). And best of all, the leftovers are scrumdiddlyumptious!

This is a recipe I came up with that is make-ahead for the taste not the convenience (although no pots and pans at after dinner is nice too). Tomato based pasta dishes have always tasted even better when eaten as leftovers so I thought why not just make it ahead of time and reheat it for that oh-so good leftover taste?

So I bring to you my Vegetarian Leftover Lasagna. I would like to note that this dish is made in a ginormous deep dish lasgana pan so that it goes for a couple days worth of lunches and inners. But because of the size and depth of the pan it does take a lot of grocery to fill it.

**Please adjust according to your pan size and budget.
***Also, I am not much for measurements when I create so these are rough guesstimates, don't worry it really does not matter much.

Melissa's Vegetarian Leftover Lasagna

6 yellow onions sliced into 1/4-1/2" rings
1/2 cup of butter
2 tbsp sugar

6 sweet peppers assorted colours (or not assorted)cut into quarters
sesame oil (olive is a fine substitute)
sea salt (table with do, but if you don't already use sea salt you should start!)

2 cans diced/crushed tomatoes
1 can pasta sauce (I love Primo brand, it has enough tomato paste in it that you needn't add any to the dish)
1 tbsp olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic (depends on your taste for garlic)finely chopped

8 oz mushrooms (any kind will do, I used white but I love criminis)
2 heads of broccoli (just one if they are bigger than average)
1 box of oven ready lasagna noodles. (You could use fresh, or pre-boiled ones but I happen to have a box of these in the cupboard)
Cheese, lots of cheese. I used three pounds of shredded marble and Italian blends. We like a cheesy lasagna around here but you do not need to use that much. because this is a meatless lasagna the cheese content is really what ups the budget for this one.

-Modus Operandi-

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, melt the butter and sugar. When the sugar has dissolved into the butter add the sliced onions and cook until soft and dark brown. You are caramelizing them with the sugar here not just frying.

Meanwhile, core the peppers and slice them into quarters. Put on a cookie sheet lined with foil and brush with oil (sesame really does works well here) and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Put on the middle rack in the oven with the oven set to broil. Remove from oven when just starting to char.

In another large saucepan, heat olive oil and add chopped garlic. (Make sure the oil does not get too hot because that can make the garlic bitter.) When garlic is soft and just turning brown add the two cans of tomatoes. When tomatoes have warmed add the can of pasta sauce. Let warm through and then turn down to simmer.

This is where you would be slicing mushrooms and broccoli if you are adding them. I blanched the broccoli (through in a pot of boiling water for about a minute)but it is a taste thing.

layer ingredients in the following order:

Roasted peppers (all of them)
Caramelized onions (all of them)
Broccoli & mushrooms (all of them)

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for an hour.
Remove from oven let cool completely and transfer to fridge if you are eating it the following day or freezer if you are saving it for later later.

Whenever you decide to eat it, I would take it out at least a couple hours before you want to eat it and bake it for about an our. Honestly, I learned that the best time to take it out of the oven was when you could smell lasagna throughout the house. When this is happening, take the foil off cover with more cheese (there is always room for more cheese) and broil until cheese is browned and bubbly.

Leftover Lasagna

Bon Appetit!~