White Vegetable Lasagna

Recently, my dad went in the hospital to get heart surgery, and my dear mom has been taking care of him ever since.  And my Aunt Lucy has, essentially, been taking care of both of them!  Both my mother and aunt go up to the hospital day-in and day-out, often spending 10-12 hours there at a time.  Since I have been on my "stay-cation" this week, I decided it would be nice to make them some dinners for the week.  That way, when they get home from the hospital at night, they can simple take out the container, pop it in the oven, and have a nice hot meal with no work for them.  One of the best meals to reheat in the oven is lasagna, so I created this recipe that I hope they both enjoy!  Read on for the details... 

The Essentials:
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 3 medium carrots
  • Salt
  • 16-ounce box Lasagna sheets
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

The Bechamel:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded or cubed
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper

The Ricotta:
  • 3 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 ounces fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 fresh basil leaves + 2 fresh thyme sprigs,  finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

1.  Prep the essentials:  Slice each tomato in 1/4-inch slices. Slice zucchini in half lengthwise, and then slice half-moons.  Using a vegetable peeler, peel carrots in long, thin strips.  Place all vegetables in a colander set over a bowl and sprinkle liberally with salt.  Set aside.  This will expel excess water from vegetables.  Meanwhile, soak lasagna sheets in hot water.

2.  Making the bechamel:  Whisk butter and flour in a saucepan until flour dissolves.  Stir in room temperature milk, and then a few ounces at a time, whisk in mozzarella cheese until melted.  Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

3.  Making the ricotta mixture:  With a hand mixer, mix ricotta cheese, goat cheese, eggs, salt and pepper until incorporated and smooth.  Take spinach leaves and fresh herbs and fold in mixture.

4.  Assemble the lasagna:  In a large pyrex dish, start by laying down four lasagna sheets side-by-side to cover the bottom of the dish.  Cover with half the bechamel, and then layer on zucchini and carrots.  Start again with four lasagna sheets on top vegetables.  Cover those sheets with half the ricotta mixture, then layer with tomato slices.  Top that with lasagna sheets, then the rest of the bechamel, then the rest of the zucchini and carrots.  Repeat with lasagna sheets, the rest of the ricotta mixture, the rest of the tomato slices, then finish the top with shredded mozzarella cheese.  Cover with foil and transfer to a 375-degree oven for 35 minutes.

5.  Switch oven to broil and remove foil.  Cook for an additional five minutes, until the top is bubbly and just slightly browned.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes to let layers set.  Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired, and enjoy!


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