Outrageously Good, Almost-Vegan Lasagna

In the last two days I was able to gather great ingredients at some of my favorite suppliers:

  • Russo’s — for fresh-picked spinach and some nice beets
  • Whole Foods River Street — Kite Hill Ricotta made from Almond Milk, and a big, fat Portobello Mushroom, plus Organic Padron Peppers from Mexico
  • Social Wines — Pottarello, an Umbrian, mostly Sangiovese wine

and tonight we were able to enjoy many of these ingredients in the best lasagna I ever made.  It was almost vegan, the only exception being a small amount of grated mozzarella on top, for which I have yet to find a suitable vegan alternative.

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Last night I had oven-roasted the diced Portobello at 475º F., after marinating it for an hour in lemon juice, olive oil, Alea salt, and cracked pepper.  I wanted to do it while the mushroom was fresh, before it started to wilt in the refrigerator.

To make the lasagna, it required a number of simple steps tonight:

  • boil the lasagna noodles (I had some very good foglie (leaves) of pasta from Gragnano, Campania, Italy)
  • make a bechamel sauce, with 2 Tbs. olive oil, 1.75 Tbs. flour, stirred continuously with a wooden spoon, then adding a little at a time 1 cup of Almond Milk, and heating slowly until somewhat thickened.
  • pull the stems off the spinach, wilt the leaves in a covered, non-stick pan with a little olive oil and salt, then chop
  • pulse the cubes of Portobello in the food processor until more finely chopped
  • process one container of Kite Hill Ricotta with olive oil and black pepper in the small Cuisinart
  • divide the finished bechamel in thirds, and combine with the spinach, ricotta, and mushrooms, respectively
  • open a jar of tomato sauce, or in my case, purée several canned Italian tomatoes, adding salt, pepper, and good quality oregano
  • assemble the whole dish in my favorite Italian terra cotta baking dish, starting with a layer of tomato sauce and olive oil, then a layer of pasta sheets, a layer of the ricotta/besciamella (bechamel in Italian), a layer of spinach/besciamella, and a layer of mushroom/besciamella.  Then repeat with another layer of each.  Top with a layer of pasta, more besciamella, a cup of tomato sauce, and some grated mozzarella (q.b.)
  • bake in a preheated 375º F. oven for 45 minutes
  • serve with a few glasses of Pottarello, a blend of Sangiovese (80%), Colorino (10%), and Malvasia Nera (10%)
  • enjoy the luscious mouth feel of the vegetables, ricotta/besciamella blend and well-cooked pasta, along with the earthiness of the Sangiovese from Umbria

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Ah, yes; I had the beets and the Padron Peppers for lunch, with a glass of 2012 Fausse Piste Syrah from Oregon’s Columbia River Valley.

 

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