Friday, May 20, 2005

Freeze-Ahead Lasagna Primavera

Freeze-Ahead Lasagna Primavera (Adapted from Everyday Food)

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups milk
20 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
10 ounces frozen peas
8 ounces (1/2 pound) carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
salt and fresh ground black pepper
15 ounces ricotta cheese
1 large egg
pinch fresh grated nutmeg
9 ounce package no-boil lasagna noodles
12 to 16 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 ounces (about 3/4 cup) fresh grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium. Whisk in flour - cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk - bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in spinach, peas and carrots - season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together ricotta, egg and 1/2 teaspoon salt - season with fresh ground black pepper and pinch fresh grated nutmeg.

Lightly coat a 9" x 13" baking dish with nonstick spray. Spread a thin layer of the vegetable sauce over the bottom of the pan. Arrange a layer of noodles over the bottom, then pour on half of the remaining vegetable sauce. Place another layer of noodles on, followed by half the ricotta mixture, half the mozzarella and half the Parmesan. Repeat process.

Cover lasagna tightly with plastic wrap, then add a layer of foil and place into the freezer.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove foil from pan, then remove plastic wrap. Cover pan with a sheet of oiled foil (oil side down), and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Place into the oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove foil and continue to bake until bubbling and browned, about 25 to 30 minutes more. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Makes about 8 servings.

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