Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mile-High Lasagna Pie

Having a thick slice of lasagna placed in front of you is like opening a new book. Each layer reveals a different element to the dish in much the same way each chapter of a book reveals more about the story. Individually each layer and page are enjoyed, but the story is best appreciated as a whole.

Lasagna is elevated from a its rustic roots to a new level of elegance by simply preparing it in a springform pan allowing each lovely layer to be on display. This recipe started as a vegetable version, but I added some ground beef to make it more palatable to my family, my husband in particular. I loved the earthy flavor and texture of the vegetables added but am glad I added the beef as it made this more hearty and delicious. While there is plenty of cheese here, this is a little more healthy and little less cheesy than the lasagna you may be used to eating. Proving you can have your lasagna, and eat it to.

This dressed up lasagna is the perfect thing to serve the next time you want to impress your family and friends.

Linking to:

  • Mile-High Lasagna Pie
  • adapted from, Summer 2011

14 dried lasagna noodles
1 pound ground chuck
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 jar (26 ounces) tomato-and-basil pasta sauce (2 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped carrot (3 medium)
2 cups finely chopped zucchini (1 medium)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 package fresh baby spinach (6 ounces)
2 tablespoons snipped fresh basil
1 egg, beaten
1 container (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
1/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles; rinse with cold water. Drain again; set aside.

While noodles are cooking, place ground beef in skillet. Crumble meat into small pieces, add Italian seasoning, and cook until brown. Drain. Return to skillet and add pasta sauce.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots, zucchini, and half of the garlic. Cook and stir about 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Transfer vegetable mixture to a bowl. Add the remaining oil to the same skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add remaining garlic. Gradually add spinach. Cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Using a slotted spoon, transfer spinach mixture from skillet to a bowl. Stir basil into spinach mixture; set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together egg, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

To assemble pie, in the bottom of a 9x3-inch springform pan, spread 1/2 cup of the meat/pasta sauce. Arrange three to four of the cooked noodles over the sauce, trimming and overlapping as necessary to cover sauce with one layer. Top with half of the spinach mixture. Spoon half of the ricotta cheese mixture over spinach mixture. Top with another layer of noodles. Spread with half of the remaining pasta sauce. Top with all of the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella cheese. Top with another layer of noodles. Layer with remaining spinach mixture and remaining ricotta cheese mixture. Top with another layer of noodles (may have extra noodles) and remaining sauce. Gently press down pie with the back of a spatula.

Place springform pan on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarellaa cheese; bake about 15 minutes more or until heated through. Cover and let stand on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving. Carefully remove side of pan. To serve, cut into wedges. If desired, garnish with rosemary sprigs. Makes 10 servings.
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