Lasagna Primavera


*Note: when assembled, this lasagna is piled very high - above the rim of the baking pan. Initially, I thought I might have an exploding volcano of lasagna all over my oven but wasn't I pleased when it settled perfectly while baking. Be sure, though, to place it on a foil-lined baking sheet to avoid any potential spillovers while it cooks.

*Serves 6-7

1 cup chopped carrots

3 zucchini (about 2 ½ to 3 cups finely chopped – mine were in 1/4-inch or less pieces)

2 squash (about 2 cups finely chopped – 1/4-inch or less pieces)

2 cups chopped broccoli

20 ounces chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained well (or squeezed through a towel)

3 cups ricotta cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

16 ounces mozzarella, shredded (about 4 cups)

4-6 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 (24-ounce) jars pasta sauce or use 6 cups of homemade sauce

12 no-boil lasagna noodles (I love the Barilla brand)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all the chopped vegetables except the spinach (carrots, broccoli, zucchini, squash) with 1/2 teaspoon salt and steam briefly, for 2-3 minutes, to soften them just a bit (they’ll finish cooking in the oven after the lasagna is assembled).

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach and salt. Mix well.

Lightly grease a 9X13-inch pan. Spoon about 3/4 cup sauce onto the bottom of the pan and spread around. It will be a thin layer. Cover with four no-boil lasagna noodles, overlapping slightly. Spoon in 1/3 of the lightly steamed vegetables evenly. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the vegetables then sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella and 1/4 of the Parmesan cheese. Pour 1/3 of the remaining sauce over the cheese, lightly spreading it to the edges. Repeat the layers (noodles, vegetables, ricotta, mozzarella/parm, sauce) two more times, ending with the last of the sauce. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over the top. This lasagna will be piled high – above the rim of your 9X13-inch pan, but it will settle as it bakes.

Cover the lasagna with a sheet of lightly greased foil and place the 9X13-inch pan on a large baking sheet lined with foil (this is important since the lasagna will bubble and spit over the edge a bit as it bakes). Bake, covered, for 50 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.