Sunday, March 11, 2012

Caramelized Onion Veggie Lasagna

First, my apologies on the blog silence!  Work has been (ridiculously) busy, and the boyfriend has now become the fiance (yay!), so there's been little time for fun cooking.  BUT, we do have to eat, after all, so we made this amazing lasagna.

We have made this once before, with a friend, and it was fantastic.  I was bummed that we didn't photograph it for the blog!  Lasagna is a hit in our apartment anyway, but it was nice to try something that wasn't the standard tomato-meat-cheese lasagna.  (Also, we discovered the kitties approved as well - we had to leave for a moment and they were in our plates doing some tasting right away!)

We know I love caramelized onions (need I direct you to the French Onion Soup?)  So that's an automatic win.  But a lasagna with extra veggies, a white sauce, and a spinach-cheese mixture is even better.  We had a bit of produce around the house that needed using up, so I have tweaked the original recipe just a bit to use what we had.  It turned out great.

There are a lot of components to this lasagna, that's for sure.  But it's worth it.  I promise!

Caramelized Onion Veggie Lasagna
(adapted from Eating Well)
8-10 servings

8 ounces lasagna noodles, preferably whole-wheat (or oven-ready, if you're lazy like me!)

Caramelized Onion Filling
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 large sweet onions, thinly sliced (about 10 cups)
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, diced
2 small zucchini, diced
1/2 cup red wine
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Spinach & Cheese Filling
4 cups baby spinach
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups nonfat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt

White Sauce & Topping 
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups low-fat milk
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese (or Gorgonzola, if you like a stronger flavor)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Extra cheese for top 1/2 cup - 1 cup (mozzarella, cheddar, whatever you've got)

If you're using regular lasagna noodles: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook noodles until not quite al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package directions. Drain; return the noodles to the pot and cover with cool water.

To prepare onion filling: Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown and very soft, about 25 minutes. (If they begin to stick, add water 1/4 cup at a time to release them and prevent burning.) Add zucchini and cook for a few minutes.  Then add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until just beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add wine and 1 teaspoon salt and continue cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in pepper.

To prepare spinach filling: Place ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

To prepare white sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and stir until bubbling, about 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in milk and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking, until the sauce has the consistency of thick gravy, about 1 minute. Add goat (or Gorgonzola) and gently whisk until it is melted. Stir in 1/4 cup of freshly chopped basil.  Remove from the heat. (The sauce will continue to thicken as it sits.)

To assemble lasagna: Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
Drain the noodles and spread out on a kitchen towel. Spread 1/2 cup white sauce in the prepared pan. Place a layer of noodles over the sauce. Spread half of the spinach filling over the noodles and top with one-third of the onion filling. Evenly spread 1/2 cup white sauce over the onions. Repeat with another layer of noodles, the remaining spinach filling, half the remaining onion filling and half the remaining white sauce. To finish, top with a third layer of noodles, spread the remaining onion filling over the noodles and then spread or dollop the remaining white sauce on top. Sprinkle with additional cheese (your choice of variety) to create a bubbly, yummy top.

Bake until hot and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.


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