Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gluten-Free Vegetarian Lasagna

Husband-Tested in Alice’s Kitchen
Makes 6 to 8 servings

Making this lasagna was quite a project but turned out to be a work of art.  We had dear friends over for dinner and one of them is allergic to gluten.  Lost River Market & Deli has a whole section of special gluten-free products.  The brown rice lasagna noodles cooked up quick.  Use them to make this delicious lasagna or use them in your favorite lasagna recipe.

1 box brown rice lasagna noodles

For the veggie filling:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped
5-6 Portobello mushrooms, trimmed, sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 lb. chopped spinach - fresh, or frozen, thawed (squeeze any liquid out)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes, or to taste
2 rounded tablespoons golden raisins
1/2-cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, chopped
1 cup jarred red and yellow roasted peppers, drained, chopped

For the cheese filling:
Combine and set aside:
1 1lb. container part skim ricotta or small curd cottage cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan
Dash of nutmeg

For the sauce:
Combine in a large food processor and pulse until smooth:
1 28-oz. can Italian tomatoes with juice
1 cup roasted red peppers, drained
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1 Tablespoon brown sugar or molasses
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
Sea Salt and ground pepper, to taste

For the topping:
4 oz. fresh mozzarella
Chopped fresh Italian parsley

Bring a large pot of fresh salted water to a rolling boil and place the noodles in the pot, gently bending them into the simmering water as they soften. Cook for only a few minutes until softened but not done. You want them slightly tender and al dente. They will continue to cook when you bake the lasagna. Drain well and separate.
Meanwhile make your vegetable filling. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and add the mushrooms and garlic and stir-fry gently for five to seven minutes. Reserve eight of the prettiest slices of the lightly cooked mushrooms and set aside for the topping.
Add in the balsamic vinegar and toss lightly; add the spinach and stir to cook for a minute or two. Season with nutmeg, sea salt and pepper and red chili flakes. Add the raisins, sun-dried tomatoes and roasted peppers and stir to combine. Simmer gently until the excess liquid reduces and evaporates. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To assemble:
Pour 1 cup of the sauce into the bottom of a large lasagna dish and spread evenly. Lay three noodles flat in the bottom of the pan.
Spoon the veggie mixture evenly over the noodles and press flat. Top with three more noodles.
Spoon the cheese mixture onto the noodles and spread evenly. Add more shredded cheese if you need it. Top with three or four noodles. Press gently to flatten. Cover with the sauce and allow it seep in and around the edges.
Slice 4 to 6 oz. of marinated mozzarella and arrange the slices on the top. Top with the remaining Portobello slices.
Garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley. Cover loosely with foil.
Bake in the center of a pre-heated oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the noodles are fork tender and the filing is piping hot in the center. Allow the lasagna to rest for five minutes before slicing and serving.

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