The Best Vegetable Lasagna
1 pound cleaned trimmed spinach or two 10 ounce packages frozen, thawed
1 large onion, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds zucchini and/or yellow squash (about 4 medium squash), scrubbed and sliced thin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
for the bechamel sauce
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
5 garlic cloves, minced (about 1-1/2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup skim, low-fat or whole milk
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
9 ounces flat, no-boil, or oven-ready lasagna pasta
3 large tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 cups shredded part skim or whole milk mozzarella, (about 3/4 pound)
Bring 4 inches salted water to a boil in a large pot and add the spinach. Cook stirring, for 2 minutes and drain in a colander. Let the spinach cool and drain. Chop it coarse.
In a large deep skillet cook the onion in the oil over moderately high heat until softened. Add the squash and cook about 15 minutes more, stirring, until it is tender. Stir in the thyme, oregano, pepper flakes and salt to taste. Let the mixture cool.
Make the bechamel sauce: In a medium saucepan cook the garlic in the butter over moderately low heat for 1 minute or until aromatic. Stir in the flour and cook the paste, stirring for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, bring to a boil, whisking constantly, and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat.
Spread1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and top with a single layer of pasta. Top it with the slices of 1 tomato, 1/3 of the squash, 1/3 spinach, 1-1/2 cups sauce, and 1 cup mozzarella. Top with pasta and layer again in the same manner using half the remaining ingredients. Top with a final layer of pasta and the remaining ingredients in order ending with mozzarella. The lasagna can be baked immediately or covered and chilled up to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 400° F. Bake the lasagna, uncovered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a metal knife inserted in the center comes out hot.
Serves 8 to 10
From Leslie Glover Pendleton
This lasagna is a great make-ahead-to-feed-an-army dish. You can really keep the fat down, without losing flavor by using low-fat milk in the sauce and part-skim mozzarella. But if a full calorie dish is what you're after, go for it!