Cheesy Vegetable Lasagna with Spicy Red Wine Tomato Sauce

5 Nov

This lasagna isn’t particularly fancy-pants or anything, but it is simple, delicious, and jam-packed with vegetables.  A whole mess of them are pureed into the spicy, rich red wine tomato sauce, while the rest are incorporated into the creamy ricotta and cottage cheese filling.  The sauce has a really lovely depth of flavor due to the complexity of the red wine, mushrooms, and tomatoes working together.

Zak isn’t the biggest lasagna fan, but he did enjoy this one.  I kept the layers relatively thin and didn’t go hog-wild with the cheese, but added enough to make this lasagna cheesy and delicious.  We both enjoyed the spice from the crushed red pepper flakes.  We each ate a serving for dinner and again for lunch today, and I’m happy to say I had about 1/4 of it to freeze.  It will be perfect to pull out on a lazy day for a delicious dinner.

Cheesy Vegetable Lasagna with Spicy Red Wine Tomato Sauce

Red Wine Tomato Sauce:

1 tbs. olive oil

2 bay leaves

4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1/4 cup onion, diced

1/3 cup green bell pepper, diced

1/3 cup sliced mushrooms

1 cup red wine

1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, juices included, crushed by hand

2 tbs. tomato paste

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

In a large sauce pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic cloves and bay leaves and cook until fragrant and lightly sizzling, about 2-3 minutes.

Add onions.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until translucent, 5-6 minutes.

Add green bell pepper and cook until tender, about 4-5 miutes.

Add mushrooms and raise heat to medium-high.  Season again with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Cook until lightly golden brown, 5-6 minutes.

Add red wine to the pot.  Bring to a boil and let boil 3-4 minutes until slightly reduced.  Add crushed red pepper flakes.

Add tomatoes and tomato paste and stir to combine.  Reduce heat to low and simmer about an hour and a half until mostly reduced and thickened.  Remove bay leaves.

Using an immersion blender, blend until mostly smooth, including mushrooms.

If necessary, simmer until thickened and reduced, about another 10-20 minutes.

Taste for seasonings and stir in fresh parsley.  Remove from heat.

Ricotta-Parmesan Vegetable Filling:

1 tbs. olive oil

1/4 cup onion, diced

1/3 cup green bell pepper, diced

1/3 cup sliced mushrooms

1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese, drained

1/2 cup small curd cottage cheese, drained

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Heat olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat.

Add onions.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until translucent, 5-6 minutes.

Add green bell pepper and cook until tender, about 4-5 miutes.

Add mushrooms and raise heat to medium-high.  Season again with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Cook until lightly golden brown, 5-6 minutes.

Transfer to a bowl to cool.

Once cooled, add drained ricotta, cottage cheese, and  Parmesan.  Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Assembly:

Red wine tomato sauce, from above

Ricotta-Parmesan vegetable filling, from above

1/2 package no boil lasagna noodles (I used whole wheat)

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375°.

Place a serving spoon full of sauce on the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish.  Add one layer of noodles, overlapping by about 1/2″ inch.

Place another serving spoon full of sauce over the noodles and smooth into an even layer.  Add about half of the cheese and vegetable mixture and top with another layer of noodles.

Add another smooth layer of sauce.  Top with another layer of sauce and the remainder of the cheese and vegetable mixture.  Add a bit more sauce and the final layer of noodles.

Top with the remainder of the sauce and top with Parmesan cheese.

Cover with tinfoil.

Bake, covered about 40 minutes.  Remove tinfoil and bake another 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and golden brown.

Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.

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