Saturday, February 11, 2017

Roasted Veggie Lasagna with Creamy Pesto Sauce


Have you ever made something so delicious that you thought you may never be able to top it? Like you might as well hang up your apron and call it a day? This was that recipe for me. Legitimately, this might be the best thing I've ever made; and it's the kind of recipe I get really excited to share with you, because I know it's really good. My husband even said he wished people could taste it through their screen, which is high praise coming from my own little food critic.

When I first started working out this recipe, I decided that I wanted to do something a little different. I knew I wanted to use a creamy pesto sauce instead of the standard marinara, but I also didn't want to leave out tomatoes completely, plus I really wanted to have something at least a little green in there. Fast forward through several Pinterest inspiration scrollings and I decided to try adding some yummy roasted veggies to the mix. I used a recipe I've been making a lot lately (see info below), which served to really balance out all of the creamy goodness going on, and it turned out to be the perfect compliment. I'm absolutely sure you'll love it, and I hope you'll share in the comments below if you do! Let's get started.


Getting Started




Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees F for the roasted veggies you'll be filling your lasagna with. I got my inspiration for this from a yummy post I saw on Cooking Classy via Pinterest, of course, and just made a few changes to it. While your oven is preheating, wash your veggies and cut them into pieces, probably a little less than 1/2 inch for the zucchini, and I just cut the tomatoes into quarters. In a bowl, toss your veggies, garlic, olive oil, salt, and seasoning together until well coated. Lay out evenly in a dark roasting pan on parchment paper, then sprinkle with about 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese. I actually used a combo of shredded and grated to get rid of an already open container I had, but mostly used shredded.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is starting to brown and the veggies are nice and tender. Don't forget to turn your oven down to 375 degrees F to finish off the lasagna after the veggies are done, unless you plan to bake it later.



While your veggies are roasting, get your pasta water on the stove. Once it's boiling, cook your lasagna noodles according to package direction. I only needed 9 noodles, but I made more so I could also make a mini lasagna, which helped use up leftover ingredients and looked cute for pictures ;). The best way to know how many noodles you will need is to lay them out dry in the pan you plan to bake the lasagna in, preferably glass or ceramic. Make sure you will have good coverage, and then multiply by three. It also doesn't hurt to cook a couple of extra noodles in case one of them comes apart or something.

Next start prepping for lasagna assembly. Mix your Alfredo and pesto sauces together, stir your ricotta so it's nice and spreadable, grate your mozzarella, and lay out all of the ingredients in a good working order. I did not do that, and ended up with sauce and cheese all over my counter and floor. No big surprise there. Also get a large bowl full of cold/ice water ready to put your noodles in once they are done cooking and have been drained. This will prevent them from cooking longer, and if you aren't planning to put your lasagna in the oven right away, it will prevent the cheese from getting hot when you assemble. I also let my veggies cool down for a little while, since I made mine in the morning and baked it later.

To assemble your lasagna, start by putting a little bit of sauce in the bottom of your pan, then layer as follows:

Noodles
Ricotta cheese - just put some dollops here and there, about 3 per noodle, and then spread out as evenly as possible.
Sauce - you can use same dollop method
Veggies - see picture below
Mozzarella - 2-3 handfuls. You want even coverage but should still be able to tell there are veggies underneath ;)

Do this for two layers, then finish off noodles, sauce, and 2-3 handfuls of grated Parmesan cheese. If you're not sure how much to spread on each layer, a good rule of thumb is that you want to have a little bit of everything in every bite. I ended up having leftovers of the ricotta, veggies, and mozzarella, so don't feel like you have to use every bit unless your pan will accommodate. Here's an example of how I spread out the veggies for each layer; the cheese you see here is from the Parmesan I roasted the veggies with, not the mozzarella:


Once you're done assembling, simply wrap in cling film and put it in the fridge until ready to bake, or throw it in the oven at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and turning golden. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, then serve and enjoy! This was a really really big hit. It's super rich and flavorful and great for special occasions. I planned to have enough leftovers for the week, but that didn't work out as planned at all. We couldn't stop eating it and only had enough for two days - oops. If only you could taste it through the screen! I know you'll love it.


Ingredients


  • Lasagna noodles - I only needed 9 but it will depend on the size of your pan. Use the method I described above if you aren't sure how many you will need.
  • *10 oz container Alfredo sauce (I used Raley's All Natural Alfredo Sauce, but use your favorite brand)
  • *5 Tbs Pesto sauce (I used Raley's All Natural Pesto Basil Sauce, but you can make it from scratch or buy your favorite brand)
  • 15 oz container of Ricotta cheese made with whole milk
  • 1/2-3/4 lb mozzarella cheese, grated (I think I only ended up using about 1/2, but you may need more if you are using a larger pan)
  • Fresh, finely grated Parmesan cheese - about 1/2-1 cup. I didn't measure this part, but I used 2-3 handfuls to make sure I had good coverage on the top.
*Note: I have a smallish sized baking dish that's about 8"x11" and ended up using all of the sauce. If you have a bigger pan that you are using you may need more sauce, but the rest of the ingredients should accommodate a bigger pan. I had leftovers of everything else.


Roasted Veggies:

  • 3 zucchini, cut into rounds a little less than 1/2 inch thick
  • 1.5 lbs cocktail tomatoes, cut into quarters (I used 1 1/2 packages of the Campari greenhouse cocktail tomatoes, but you can use grape, cherry, roma, or whatever kind of tomatoes are your favorite, just make sure they are nice and ripe)
  • Olive oil - enough to coat your veggies well, probably about 2-3 Tbs
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Servings: 9-12 depending on how big you cut your slices
Total time: approximately 1 hr 15 min from prep to done, if you multitask while your roasted veggies are baking.

Want something to munch on while waiting for your lasagna to come out of the oven? These Roasted Tomato Crostini with Pesto and Red Pepper Hummus would be a great way to use up extra pesto and leftover veggies!




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