Let's talk lasagna. I don't know about you, but I love it in all its forms. What could be better than pasta sandwiching yummy melting cheese drenched in herbs and any type of filling you can think of (with some exceptions of course). While I am not a Vegetarian sometimes I think there is nothing better than sinking your teeth into bright and fresh vegetables cooked into pasta. That is what a vegetable lasagna is for (see you get all the good carbs too).
Surprisingly enough, pasta is actually not from Italy, it started with the Etruscans in 400 B.C. They had stranger versions of it, but it was pasta nonetheless. Greeks and Romans took their part in it before the Arabs brought it to Italy. The rest is noodle history.
"At least lasagna must be Italian" you say, but it actually was formed in the English court of King Richard II in the 14th century. Fear not, the lasagna that we love today wasn't lasagna until the Italians had their way with it.
In this article I chose to share a vegetable lasagna recipe, because using lots of vegetables is in the spirit of cherishing the old farming methods and traditions of the Italians. It has been very popular for men in Italy (since about forever ago) to use gardening as a hobby. Tasty to the core, I believe that their greatness comes from the fact that so much love is put into them. You see, a garden is, and has been, the way for Italian men to take pride in knowing that they are providing for their families by providing food for them that they grew themselves.
All in all we can agree that Italians love wine, love their vegetable gardens, make great pasta, and have a terrific knack for making the perfect lasagna. There is nothing better than hearty lasagna filled with three cheeses and fresh hearty vegetables.
Don't believe that your lasagna will fly without meat? Try this recipe, you won't be disappointed....in fact, I dare you.
Here it is:
"It's All In the Family's Vegetable Patch Lasagna"*
Ingredients: 12 oz shredded mozzarella cheese, 12 uncooked lasagna noodles, ¾ cup Basil Pesto, ¼ cup copped fresh parsley, ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, 2 cups non-fat milk, 1 pound bag of thawed broccoli flowerets, ¼ tsp salt, 1 egg, 1 and ½ tbs all-purpose flour, 1 and ½ tbs whole-wheat flour, 3 coarsely shredded carrots, 15 oz ricotta cheese, 3 tbs butter, 1 finely chopped clove of garlic, 14.5 oz can of Italian diced tomatoes drained, ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, and 1 medium red bell pepper cut into thin strips.
1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2) Cook and drain noodles as directed on their package
3) In a large mixing bowl mix the broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, bell pepper, Basil Pesto, and salt. In another mixing bowl mix the ricotta cheese, Parmesan, parsley, basil and the egg.
4) In a saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Cook the garlic in the butter for about 2 minutes stirring constantly. Stir in the flour. Stir constantly until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Stir in the milk. Heat to boiling stirring. Boil and stir for one minute.
5) Place 3 noodles in an ungreased 13 x 9 inch pan. Spread half of the cheese mixture on the noodles, top with 3 more noodles. Spread with half the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with a third of the mozzarella. Top with three more noodles, spread with the remaining cheese mixture. Top with last 3 noodles. Spread with the remaining vegetable mixture. Pour sauce on the top. Sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella.
6) Bake for about 45 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
7) Enjoy the hearty richness of an Italian Garden.
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*Base of recipe from Betty Crocker and I molded it from there.
Notes: Facts for this recipe were found on http://www.vegetarian-fun.com/vegerec6.html
Rachael Rizzo has been acting since she was nine years old. She uses her experience to write about what the things she loves mean to her (mostly movies and baking). She is twenty-three years old and resides in beautiful Oregon.
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