Thursday, May 06, 2010

Caramelized Onion and Spring Spinach Lasagna

I can be somewhat one-track minded at times.
When I get it in my head that I want to do something. I have to do it. I MUST do it. This is especially true of recipes. Sometimes I come across one and I just have to make it. Immediately. Something about it just cries out and challenges me. This is precisely what happened yesterday when a coworker left a printout of a vegetarian lasagna recipe on my desk with a note “thought you would like this”. As I perused the ingredients I became inttigued. Caramelized onions? Gorgonzola? Spinach and basil?

I just had to do it.

So yesterday after work I went food shopping and when I got home I set about on my task. Now, something I had not considered is how labor intensive this recipe is. I mean it is doable on a weeknight but it is definitely not something you would just throw together quickly. And it is definitely a multi-pan project.

All of the hard work pays off though in the creation of the perfect spring lasagna. The sweetness of the caramelized onions is balanced nicely by the earthiness of the Portobello caps. The spinach and basil ricotta mixture just screams spring and the Gorgonzola sauce is frankly To Die For. Even Adam who loves his meat did not miss it in this dish, and in fact had two large servings.

So. Freaking. Good.

Caramelized Onion and Spring Spinach Lasagna
Adapted from this recipe

9 whole wheat lasagna noodles
4 large white or yellow onions, sliced thinly
4 medium Portobello mushroom caps, gills removed
½ cup red wine
4 cups spinach
2 cups fat free ricotta
1 cup chopped basil
2 cups fat free milk
Oluve Oil
4 tbsp all purpose flour
3 oz Gorgonzola cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Cook the lasagna about 2-3 minutes short of what the box calls for. You want the noodles to be al dente. Drain and place in a bowl covered in cool water (Awesome trick to keep them from sticking together while you work!)

In a large pan heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until golden brown and very soft. Should take about 30 minutes of slow but if you would like to hurry it up turn the heat up to medium high just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.

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Once the onions are done, add the mushroom caps and cook for another 4 minutes.

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Then add the wine and 1 tsp of salt and cook until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

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In a food processor, blend the ricotta, spinach and ½ c basil until smooth. Add a tsp of salt. Set aside.

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Next, get a medium saucepan and heat 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium high heat. Stir in the flour and whisk constantly until foaming. Gradually stir in milk, constantly stirring until thickened to the consistency of gravy (2-3 minutes).

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Stir in gorgonzola and whisk until melted. Remove from heat. Will thikcin as it stands.

Now comes the fun part. Assembly

Ladle about ½ a cup of the white sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan. Then layer three of the noodles.

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Spread 1/3 of the spinach mixture on top.

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Then 1/3 of the onion mixture.
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Then ladle on ½ a cup more of the white sauce. Repeat this process 2 more times, finishing with the white sauce. Sprinke the remaining ½ cup chopped basil on top.

Bake for 30 minutes.

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And revel in the delight of this vegetarian masterpiece!!

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