Wednesday Food: Springtime Lasagna

Eric, my husband of German decent loves making Italian food.....I don't know how I got so lucky! And his favorite is lasagna. When he told me he wanted to make it, I was said "but it's spring!". So, the logical solution.....Springtime Lasagna.

It still works cause it's still not too hot for the oven to be on. And how shall we make this a little lighter? Go heavier on the veggies and switch up the heavy ricotta to tangy, fresh goat cheese. One of the veggies is portabello mushrooms, which I have a story and a tip to share.

When I started at the Culinary Institute of America, one of our first classes before they let us loose into the kitchens was Product ID. A class where you learn about every bit of produce under the sun and eat it all too! My favorite lesson was Mushroom Day! We tasted TONS of different varieties of fungi. But one of the interesting things learned that day was about the portabello. This is a picture of the underside of a portabello.

The brown are all the spores. Apparently many chefs cut out the spores on portabellos. Why, you ask? Because whatever it gets mixed with will become brown. Which is true......BUT when doing a taste test between the portabello with spores and without, there's no competition. Cut out the spores and you cut out the flavor. And what are portabellos known best for? Their beefy, robust and delicious flavor! Aesthetics aren't everything when your cooking at home, and why sacrifice flavor? And your also making more waste.... we don't like waste!

Eric's Springtime Lasagna

1 box of lasagna noodles (not the no-bake, that stuff freaks me out!)
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 red peppers, chopped
4 portabello mushrooms, chopped (and leave those spores in!)
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
1/2 bunch of parsley, chopped
6 oz. of crumbled goat cheese
a mix of about 2 oz parmesan and 2oz mozzarella
olive oil as needed
Salt and Pepper, to taste

1) Start your water for the lasagna. Don't forget to salt the water!

2) Sweat the onions and garlic in the olive oil. Sweat means to cook till translucent, not till brown

3) Add your portabellos and red peppers. Saute them for about 10 minutes. And don't forget the salt and pepper. With this recipe don't be afraid to add alittle extra pepper. It will balance out the goat cheese.

4) Add in the diced tomatoes to the veggies and cook for about 20 minutes.

5) When your lasagna noodles are done cooking, drain them and run some cold water over them. Add some olive oil to the noodles and break them apart with your hands. Set them aside till your ready to assemble.

6) After the sauce has cooked, add the chopped parsley and your sauce is done!

7) Here's your layers - sauce, cheese, then noodles.....repeat. Be careful when your sprinkling the goat cheese over the sauce. It can clump together very easily. Its best to have the goat cheese come straight from the fridge. The colder the cheese the easier it will be to work with. Top with the parm. and mozz. mix, cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven. If you like a crispy top then take the foil off in the last 5-10 minutes.

And finally all together.......

Allright kiddies....remember when the kitchen gets too hot, get back in there and keep cooking!

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