Yesterday my family went skiing and I stayed home to
watch Netflix get some things done. They requested lasagna for dinner, taken in our super-duper heat-holding thermoses. I wanted to honour their request but I didn’t have a ton of time before they were planning on leaving and I also didn’t want to spend all of my free time after they left doing dishes.
Here’s how it all came together. The amounts I’m giving you are pretty loose – use what you’ve got and use your intuition. The veggies are ground fine in the food processor and then everything is cooked in a large skillet with high sides. A large can of tomatoes is processed till smooth and added to the vegetables. The noodles are the fresh variety available in any grocery store. There are three different cheeses – ricotta, Parmesan and mozzarella. It all comes together in a delicious “pasta pie”, perfect for a night of skiing and a night of British crime dramas…
Simple Cheese Lasagna
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 celery stalk, cut into chunks
1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
6 mushrooms, stems trimmed
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, or more if needed
1 – 28 oz can whole tomatoes
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 tub ricotta cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup pesto, or to taste
1 package fresh lasagna sheets
1 ball mozzarella cheese, shredded
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place the onion, celery, carrot, mushrooms and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor. Process until the vegetables are fairly smooth.
Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet with high sides. Add the minced veggies and cook for about 5 minutes or until everything is softened. While the veggies are cooking, puree the canned tomatoes in the food processor. Add the tomatoes to the skillet and season with sea salt and pepper. Add a dollop of pesto to the sauce if you want. Add ½ cup of water to the sauce and simmer for about 10 minutes or so.
Combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and egg. Add good pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Set aside until needed.
Remove the skillet from the heat and taste the tomato sauce for seasoning. Submerge a sheet of pasta in the sauce. Fill in the gaps with smaller pieces of pasta. Place another layer of pasta in the pan and submerge with the sauce. Dollop half of the ricotta cheese mixture over the layer of pasta. Dollop half of the pesto amongst the ricotta cheese. Continue layering the rest of the pasta sheets until they are all covered with the sauce. Dollop the remaining ricotta cheese and pesto on top. Cover with the shredded cheese and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Serve hot.