Roasted Red Pepper and Portobello Mushroom Lasagna

Temps des Fêtes 2005
food and drink

BY: Jennifer MacKenzie

A hearty, meatless lasagna with robust flavours. The taste of homemade sauce really comes through but in a pinch, you can substitute 6 cups (1.5 L) good-quality prepared tomato sauce. The baking dish will be quite full once the noodles cook during baking so place a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any drips that overflow. Smoked provolone or caciocavallo cheese complements the roasted flavour of the peppers and mushrooms. If either are unavailable, regular provolone is nice, as well. If fresh peppers are too pricey, roasted peppers are often available in the deli section or in jars. You may need more than 4 if they are small.

2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp (10 mL) dried basil
2 tsp (10 mL) dried oregano
½ tsp (2 mL) hot pepper flakes
Two 28 oz (796 mL) cans diced tomatoes
½ cup (125 mL) tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 lb (500 g) portobello mushrooms (about 6)
2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
2 tbsp (25 mL) balsamic or red wine vinegar
4 large roasted red peppers, sliced about 2 cups (500 mL)
One 360 g pkg fresh lasagna noodles
3 cups (750 mL) shredded smoked provolone or caciocavallo cheese

Cheese Filling
2 eggs
One 475 g container ricotta cheese
¼ cup (50 mL) chopped fresh basil
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground pepper

Cheese Filling
2 eggs
One 475 g container ricotta cheese
¼ cup (50 mL) chopped fresh basil
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground pepper

1. For the sauce, in a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté garlic, carrots, celery, onion, basil, oregano and hot pepper flakes for about 8 minutes or until very soft. Add tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, for about 30 minutes or until very thick. Using an immersion blender, purée until fairly smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let cool completely. Alternatively, purée cooled sauce in an upright blender or food processor in batches as necessary.

2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450ºF (230ºC).

3.Trim stems from mushrooms and slice caps into ½- inch-thick (1-cm) slices. Place on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil and vinegar. Spread out in a single layer. Roast for about 10 minutes or until browned and tender. Let cool. Pat roasted red peppers dry with paper towel. Set aside.

4. For the cheese filling,  in a bowl, whisk eggs until blended. Blend in ricotta, basil, salt and pepper.

5. To assemble: grease a 13 x 9-inch (3-L) baking dish. Trim lasagna noodles to fit baking dish. (Use trimmings in a centre layer and use whole noodles for bottom and top layers.) Spread 1 cup (250 mL) sauce in the bottom of prepared dish. Place one-quarter of the noodles on sauce. Spread with one-third of the remaining sauce, sprinkle with one-half each of the mushrooms and red peppers. Sprinkle with one-third of the shredded cheese. Top with another quarter of noodles and spread with ricotta cheese filling. Place another quarter of noodles on top of filling and spread with another third of sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mushrooms and red peppers and another third of shredded cheese. Top with remaining noodles, spread with remaining sauce and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.

6. Cover top of dish with plastic wrap and wrap entire dish in heavy duty foil. Freeze for up to 2 months. Lasagna can be thawed in the refrigerator for about 48 hours or baked from frozen.

7. To bake, remove plastic wrap and cover dish with greased foil. If thawed, bake at 375ºF (190ºC) for about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for about 15 minutes longer or until centre is hot and edges are bubbling. If frozen, bake at 375ºF (190ºC) for about 2 hours or until centre is warm. Uncover and bake for about 20 minutes longer or until centre is hot and edges are bubbling, reducing oven temperature to 350 ºF (180ºC) if edges are browning too quickly.

8. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 8 to 10

What to Serve