Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Latter Day Lasagna

Scrutiny is part of the political process.

Latter Day Lasagna
Makes 6 servings

Enjoy this traditional Italian favorite later in the day, because it’s prepared in a slow cooker.

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
5 large cloves garlic, minced
1 can [28 oz.] whole peeled tomatoes
1 can [14 oz.] diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
20 fresh basil leaves, chopped, divided (about 1/4 cup)
1 container (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
2 cups (8 oz.) Italian blend shredded cheese
1 egg
6 uncooked lasagna noodles

Heat oil in medium saucepot on medium heat.  Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute until fragrant (do not brown).  Stir in whole tomatoes and their juices.  Use immersion blender to puree sauce.  Stir in diced tomatoes, salt, sugar and pepper.  Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.  Stir in half of the basil.

Mix ricotta, 1-1/2 cups shredded cheese, egg and remaining basil.
Spoon 1 cup sauce into slow cooker; top with layers of half each of the noodles (broken to fit) and cheese mixture. Cover with 2 cups sauce. Top with remaining noodles (broken to fit), cheese mixture and sauce. Cover with lid.
Cook on LOW 4 to 6 hours or until liquid is mostly absorbed. Sprinkle with remaining cheese; let stand, covered, 10 min. or until melted.

In a hurry?  Substitute a jar of spaghetti sauce + 1 cup water for the homemade sauce.
This recipe works just as well using whole wheat lasagna noodles, part-skim ricotta cheese and reduced fat shredded cheese blend.  This version will reduce calories (460 vs. 320), fat (26g vs 15g), saturated fat (12g vs 6 g), cholesterol (100mg vs 60 mg) and increase fiber (3g vs. 5g).
This is one of my favorite summer recipes, because you don't heat up the house using a slow cooker.

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