This requires me to be standing at the ready with needle and thread and hot glue gun plugged in while I search for shopping bags big enough to hold an unspeakable amount of candy. I myself have given up wearing costumes years ago. My last attempt was sometime in the 90's when I dressed as a very dead Rolling Stone, Brian Jones (I was adorable).
The last thing I want to deal with is making dinner for the home crowd before they head out to their parties and parades. But everyone must eat or they will throw up from eating all that candy on an empty stomach (sadly, I can vouch for this). So a do-ahead meal that can sit out on the kitchen counter and feed people all evening is the way to go.
I'm not going to lie to you, vegetable lasagna is laborious to make. Many steps are involved. But once it is done you can leave it in the fridge for a day or two and it actually gets better. I am using thinly sliced roasted zucchini and mushrooms as the vegetables for this one.
I par boil the noodles leaving them a bit stiff so they are much easier to handle (use the non-boil ones if you like).
Roast the vegetables to get some more flavor, but you can skip this if you want to save time
Put the seasoned ricotta cheese in a plastic bag and "pipe" it into the layers. Much easier than trying to spread it on to wet noodles with a spoon.
Leave yourself time and space to get through this project, and make a big one so you don't have to do it again for a while.
1 box of lasagne noodles, par boiled
2 zucchini's thinly sliced (I used a mandoline)
1 lb. baby bella mushrooms, sliced or quartered
2 Tbs. Olive oil
2 lbs. Ricotta cheese
2 eggs beaten
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
s & p
1 Tbs. sugar
2- 24oz jars of Marinara sauce (make it yourself if you like, I'm trying to cut you a break)
1 lb. Mozzarella cheese grated on large holes of a box grater
Pre heat oven to 400F
Toss zucchini with 1 Tbs. olive oil and ground pepper and lay in a single layer on a baking sheet. Do the same with the mushrooms. Roast vegetables for about 20 minutes.
Mix ricotta with eggs, cinnamon, Romano cheese, sugar and teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Place in a plastic bag and cut a small hole in the bottom to create a piping bag.
Set yourself up to create the layers: (I like to do three layers of filling but you don't have to. Do two instead)
Put 1/2 cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of a pan and spread around the bottom (I put a little water in too to keep it loose)
Put a layer of noodles on the bottom. Pipe a third of the ricotta mixture evenly over noodles. Place a third of the zucchini and a third of the mushrooms on top. Put a quarter of the grated mozzarella on top and then cover with marinara. Repeat two more times. Cover the last layer with noodles, marinara sauce and grated mozzarella.
Cover tightly with tin foil and place in oven. Cook for one hour covered and then and additional 15 minutes uncovered.
serve immediately or allow to come to room temperature before covering with tin foil and storing in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Amanda, what should I pour for myself as the last kid heads out the door and I sit down to my own plate of lasagne?
Sounds like you'll definitely need a glass of wine on Saturday, as will I! Fortunately, my kids are still at the age where all I really have to do is push the "buy" button on a website to order a costume. My son will be Darth Vader, and my daughter, Jasmine. Nice and easy. The stressful part of Halloween is finding a costume for myself, which I still have not done. I've been invited to a "grown-up" Halloween party - my first in probably 25 years. Nothing like waiting till the last minute. I will consider any, and all suggestions.
I would enjoy this dish paired with a Negroamaro. This red varietal, which produces rustic, earthy wines with beautiful aromatics, is native to Southern Italy. It is grown almost exclusively in Puglia, in particular, Salento. Castello Monaci makes an incedibly delicious and wonderfully affordable Negroamaro called Maru. It retails for about $11.99, and is what I would label a true "crowd pleaser". I think it's a perfect match for Deb's Vegetable Lasagne! You can pair this wine with anything that has tomato sauce as an ingredient. It's also pairs incredibly well with hard cheeses. Here is what The Wine Advocate had to say about it:
"The 2007 Negroamaro Maru is a pretty, fresh wine with floral aromatics and plenty of bright red fruit. Medium in body, the Maru possesses tons of balance in a highly pleasing, supremely drinkable style. Needless to say, it is a terrific value."
My husband and I have a holiday block party every year in December. This recipe would work perfectly as one of the dishes! Thanks, Deb!