Sunday, August 05, 2012

Shortcut "Lasagna" with Summer Veggies

I am on the board of the community choir in which I sing, and we had a big fundraising mailer that needed to go out. So our new treasurer graciously opened her home to a gang of us gals on the board, and we had a stuffing party (to take the burden off of the poor secretary). It was to be a potluck affair, and I decided it would be appropriate to take something "stuffed" to the event.

Hence, I created a layered roasted vegetable lasagna type dish, using cheese-filled ravioli for the pasta. I think it turned out very well and would be a fine "Meatless Monday" entree. The addition of crimini (Baby Bella) mushrooms adds a meaty quality that is satifying without the inclusion of actual meat. Also, this is a great way to use up all of those garden or farmer's market vegetables that are plentiful and inexpensive right now. (My rule at this time of year is: CORN AND TOMATOES IN EVERYTHING!)

Summer Vegetable Ravioli "Lasagna"

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 sweet peppers (red, orange or yellow), seeded and diced
1 small zucchini, quartered, core removed, sliced thinly
1 small summer squash, quartered, core removed, sliced thinly
1 lb. Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
2 ears of sweet corn, kernels cut from cob
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 pound spinach leaves, chopped
12 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (depending on size)
handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper, to taste
about 50 frozen cheese ravioli (2 small packages or 1 large?), prepared acc. to package instructions
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
1 quart (4 cups) milk
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
hot sauce, to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan
2 cups shredded mozzarella

In a very large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil to the pan and saute the onions and peppers for a few minutes until they have begun to soften, then add the squash, mushrooms, and corn and continue to cook until the veggies are almost tender as you like them. Add the minced garlic and the white wine and saute another minute or two until the wine has reduced. Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped spinach, cherry tomatoes, parsley and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and reserve.

While the veggies are cooking, bring a large pot of water to boil, and cook the ravioli until al dente. Drain and reserve.

In a large sauce pan, melt the butter, then whisk in the flour. Cook for a minute or two, whisking constantly. Pour in the milk and cook until thick and bubbly, whisking frequently. Remove from heat and season with salt, a good pinch of nutmeg, and a few shakes of hot sauce. Whisk in the parmesan cheese until smooth. Reserve.

To assemble, add about a third of the parmesan bechamel to the bottom of a glass baking dish. Layer in half of the cooked ravioli, then half of the sauteed veggies, and a cup of shredded mozzarella. Top with another third of the bechamel, the other half of the ravioli, the rest of the veggies, and another cup of mozzarella. Finish with the last third of the bechamel. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until the top starts to brown around the edges and everything is bubbly. Garnish with more chopped fresh parsley if desired.

P.S. The second day, I reheated the "lasagna" and added a big spoonful of some homemade pasta sauce on top, and it was even MORE delicious!

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