Prepping for Baby: Vegetable Lasagna
My friend Suzanne had an adorable baby girl in February. She mentioned to me several weeks ago that she had made my favorite lasagna recipe before the baby was born and froze it. I decided that “make-ahead meals” would be a great blog series and way to prep for the baby. Unfortunately, the realities of running a start-up and the fatigue that accompanies the final weeks of pregnancy rendered this plan a bit ambitious.
But it was a rainy Sunday today and I rested all day so I decided that I would make a spinach lasagna. We ate some tonight for dinner and froze the leftover so that we now have a couple of meals waiting for us in our freezer post arrival of “Baby O”.
This lasagna recipe from the new Everyday Food cookbook is very simple but is a touch different because it uses fontina instead of mozzarella. The only change I made was to also add about 1/4 cup of grated parmesan to the ricotta mixture.
I made the sauce following the Basic Tomato Sauce recipe in the cookbook as well. All you need is an onion, some garlic, oregano, and canned whole tomatoes. I added a touch of tomato paste to thicken the sauce a little. I don’t think the homemade sauce added that much to the dish so if you have a favorite jarred sauce, use it to save some time.
In terms of the lasagna noodles, I love no-boil noodles. What a time saver! I have had good success with both Barilla and Ronzoni.
We loved the lasagna and I am sure it will taste even better to us, as two exhausted new parents.
Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast
- 32 ounces ricotta cheese (4 cups)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 6 cups tomato sauce (store-bought or homemade)
- 12 no-boil lasagna noodles (1-8 ounce package)
- 4 cups shredded fontina cheese (1 pound)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Whisk together eggs, ricotta, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Squeeze as much of the liquid out of the spinach as possible and add to ricotta mixture. Stir well to combine.
Spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce in 13″ x 9″ glass baking dish. Arrange 4 noodles on top. Spread one-third of ricotta mixture over the noodles, followed by one-third of the remaining sauce, and one-third of the fontina. Repeat to make two more layers, ending with fontina.
(At this point, the lasagna can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking.)
Cover with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes (40 minutes if previously frozen). Remove foil and continue baking until golden brown on top and sauce is bubbling, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before cutting and serving.
Basic Tomato Sauce
Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cans (28 ounces each) whole tomatoes in juice
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic, stirring frequently, until translucent, 2 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juices and oregano. Season with salt and pepper.
Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for 3 months. Let cool completely before storing in airtight containers.