These days, many people don't make a big deal out of Valentine's Day. I tend to prefer very nice, warm dinners together -- perhaps something slightly heavy and indulgent -- like lasagna.
I found an old recipe from Vegetarian Times that called for roasting eggplant and tomatoes. The cheese filling included ricotta, mozzarella, and tofu. As I was assembling the lasagna, I realized I didn't want to follow the instructions. That is a great thing about lasagna -- it's very forgiving. Use what's in the fridge for the vegetables, and use what's in the fridge for the filling, too. Very, very forgiving -- don't be scared.
In my experience, Vegetarian Times -- especially from the late 90s and early 2000s -- is extremely hit-or-miss in its recipes. And I approach their recipes with great skepticism. Indeed, I approached this recipe with great skepticism and changed much about it -- dropping the tofu (which would probably actually be quite a good part of the filling) and, most importantly, drowning the noodles in tomato sauce.
Roasted Eggplant Lasagna
Vegetarian Times, October 2001
1 1/2 lb eggplant, peeled, quartered legnthwise and cut into strips
4 medium tomatoes, halved lengthwise (2 lbs)
1/4 c basil, shredded (fresh)
9 oz spinach, or Swiss chard, stemmed
3/4 c mozzarella, shredded
3/4 c ricotta
8 oz tofu (soft), mashed with a fork
2 T Parmesan, grated (divided
1 egg white
6 no-boil lasagna noodles
1/4 c Asiago cheese, grated
Preheat to 450. Coat 2 roasting pans and one 8" square baking dish with Pam.
Place eggplant in one roasting pan and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Place tomato halves in second roasting pan, skin side up. Roast eggplant and tomatoes until tender, tossing eggplant occasionally, 30-40 minutes. Remove and discard tomato skins. Reserve 1/4 c tomatoes. Place eggplant, remaining tomatoes and their juices in large bowl. Add basil and toss, using spatula to break up tomatoes; set aside. Reduce oven to 375.
Changes I made:
- Did not bother peeling eggplant
- Did not add tofu, and instead used whatever mozzarella and ricotta was in the fridge
- Because I used extra cheese (see above), it was difficult to mix. So, I used an extra egg to make it easier
- Used as money noodles as it took to complete the lasagna (why limit to just 6 noodles?)
- Poured globs of canned tomato sauce over the lasagna
Steam spinach or chard utnil wilted, 4-6 minutes. Set aside to cool. Chop.
In large bowl, combine mozzarella, ricotta, tofu, 1 T Parmesan and egg white; mix well.
Place 2 lasagna noodles in bottom of prepared baking dish.
Top with half of the cheese mixture, half of the eggplant strips and half of the spinach. Repeat layers and top final layer of pasta with reserved 1/4 c tomatoes.
Sprinkle with Asiago cheese and remaining 1 T Parmesan. Loosely cover lasagna with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes, uncover and continue baking until cheese is golden, about 15 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
So go out on a limb this Valentine's Day weekend and make something warm, filling, and full of love -- like homemade lasagna.