Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Deep Dish Mushroom and Cheese Lasagna with Arugula Ricotta




Who doesn't love lasagna? 

Who doesn't love a lasagna that is lower in carbs and calories? 

This dish uses low carb lasagna noodles, part skim cheese, and it's loaded with good, wholesome veggies.  Nice trick to get those who don't like vegetables to eat more -- hide them in a lasagna!

You can use  your own store-bought favorite sauce, but I recommend you try my Savory Lasagna Sauce.  Although it looks a bit complicated, it's easy to prepare.  By making your own sauce, you control what goes in there.

Ingredients:

2 tbs. light olive oil
5 oz. fresh arugula, washed and spun dry
1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
3 tbs. Parmesan/Romano Cheese, grated, plus more for topping lasagna
1/4 cup 2% milk
2 tbs. butter
3 cups white sliced mushrooms
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
5 oz. container Part Skim Ricotta
1 egg 
8 fresh torn basil leaves
2 1/2 cups Savory Lasagna Sauce (recipe below)
1 package (13.5 ounce) Low Carb lasagna noodles (I used Dreamfields), cooked per package directions and drained
12 oz. Six Cheese Italian Blend shredded cheese; low fat
Fresh dried oregano (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Add half of the oil to one skillet and half to another.  In the first skillet, add the arugula.  Dust with ground nutmeg and saute' until wilted.  Add the cheese, the milk and one tablespoon of the butter to the pan. 





Toss and remove from heat.  The milk will naturally begin to thicken as the butter melts. 

In the second pan, add the mushrooms, the thyme and the remaining pat of butter.  Saute' for about five minutes until mushrooms are golden.  Remove from heat.

Add ricotta and the egg to a mixing bowl, along with the arugula mixture.  Tear the basil leaves and incorporate into the ricotta, mixing well.  The ricotta will be a little runny, but it should hold together.

Add one ladle of sauce to the bottom of a 9 x 9 lasagna pan.  Add four cooked noodles on top of the sauce.  The sides of the noodles should rest on the side of the lasagna pan.  This will create the "deep dish."  




Spoon half of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles and spread evenly.  Sprinkle with 1/3 of the shredded cheese.

Add another layer of noodles on top of the ricotta.  Make sure that the mixture covers the noodles so that they do not dry out while baking.

I like to layer each consecutive layer in the opposite direction, as I find the lasagna stays together better when you serve it, but this is entirely optional




Add the cooked mushrooms and top the second layer. 

Ladle sauce over the mushrooms to cover the pasta.

Add another layer of noodles.  Spread the remaining ricotta with arugula and basil over the top.  Add 1/3 of the shredded cheese.




Top with a final layer of noodles.  Top with sauce,  the remaining shredded cheese, and a sprinkling of grated Parmesan and Romano blend.  Top with crushed dried fresh oregano.

Cover with tin foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Uncover and continue to bake for another 15 minutes.

Let lasagna rest for about 10 minutes before serving. 




Tip:  I like to store fresh oregano in the freezer so that I can crumble it over dishes as needed.  It's a great way to store all of that oregano at the end of summer.


Savory Lasagna Sauce:
1 tbs. light olive oil or olive oil and canola oil blend
2 tbs. bottled minced garlic
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper, more to taste
1 can (28 oz.) tomato puree
2 tbs. tomato paste
1 tbs. coarse sea salt
Fresh cracked black pepper, about 10 turns of the pepper grinder
1/4 cup dry red wine or low sodium vegetable broth*
1/2 tbs. dried marjoram
1/2 tbs. dried oregano
1 packet Splenda®
1 tbs. Parmesan/Romano grated cheese

Add olive oil to a heavy sauce pan along with the bottled minced garlic and the crushed red pepper.  Saute' for about three minutes until the aromas release.

Add the tomato puree, the tomato paste, salt, black pepper, red wine, marjoram, oregano, Splenda® and the grated cheese.   Stir until all ingredients are combined.

Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.  Cover and continue to cook for about 1/2 hour. 

Note:  Makes about 3 1/2 cups. 

Also great on pizza!

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