I usually assemble this a day ahead and then bake it the next day. It is a lengthy recipe, but well worth the effort. It’s great for entertaining, because it can be made ahead and requires little attention to actually bake, and the leftovers are great too. Try it out on a weekend when you have a bit more time.
Total Active Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour
1 package lasagna noodles (I use no boil)
3-4 15oz jarred roasted red peppers with juice OR 8 fresh homemade roasted red peppers with juice (see technique below), divided
1 to 1 1/2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium to large onion, finely chopped, divided
4-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed, divided
1 medium to large shallot, finely chopped
1 6-8 oz. block of feta cheese
3/4 lb. of freshly grated mozzarella cheese
At least 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 15oz tub of ricotta cheese
1 16 oz. package of frozen spinach
3 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
4 teaspoons dried basil or about ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, divided
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
2 lemons, zest of 2 and juice of 1
Blender or Food Processor
13x9x2 inch baking dish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
If using noodles that need to be pre-cooked put water on and bring to a boil, heavily salt water. Boil noodles according to package directions. Drain and lay out on linen kitchen towels in a single layer until the noodles are cool to the touch.
Meanwhile prepare sauce.
- Place ¾ of the red peppers (about 2 ½ jars or 5-6 freshly roasted peppers) in the blender with all the juice, the vegetable broth, 2 TB olive oil, about 6 oz of the feta cheese (more for a thicker, creamier sauce), 1/2 of the chopped onion, 1/2 of the chopped garlic, 1/2 of the chopped shallots, 1 tsp of dried oregano, 2 tsp. dried basil, the zest and juice of one lemon (if it is really juicy just juice half the lemon), and salt and pepper.
- Blend until smooth. There should be about 4 cups. If needed add a bit more broth.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt, pepper, and other spices to taste.
- With a fork mix ricotta cheese, egg, ¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, ¼ of chopped onion, ¼ of chopped garlic, ¼ of chopped shallot, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. dried basil, salt and pepper
- Microwave spinach until just defrosted. If there is a lot of water drain off.
- Mix spinach with ¼ of chopped onion, ¼ of chopped garlic, ¼ of chopped shallot, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. dried basil, salt and pepper to taste
Remaining Red Peppers:
- Chop remaining red peppers into bite size pieces.
- Lightly spray baking dish with cooking spray.
- Spread about ½ cup of sauce in a thin layer on the bottom of the dish.
- Cover sauce with noodles, slightly overlapping noodles. With the noodles I use it’s usually six sheets.
- Spread ½ of the ricotta mixture over the noodles.
- Sprinkle half of the spinach mixture over the ricotta mixture.
- Sprinkle half of the chopped red peppers on top of the spinach mixture.
- Sprinkle with ¼ cup of grated mozzarella.
- Sprinkle with ¼ cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
- Spoon about 1 ¼ cup of sauce over the cheeses.
- Layer noodles on top of sauce. Top with remaining ricotta. Top with remaining spinach. Top with remaining red peppers. Top with ¼ cup grated mozzarella, Top with ¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. Top with 1 ¼ cup sauce.
- Place last layer of noodles.
- Cover with remaining sauce (about 1 ¼ cup), top with remaining mozzarella, top with remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Cover with tin foil and bake 50 minutes at 350 degrees F. Remove foil and bake 10 minutes more. Remove from oven and let rest for about 30 minutes before cutting to let everything rest. This will make cutting easier.
Lasagna can be assembled 1 day ahead and the baked right before serving.
Lasagna can also be frozen (before baking), thaw in the refrigerator about 24 hours before baking. Then bake as directed above.
Homemade Roasted Red Peppers
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Make sure rack is near top of the oven.
- Cut peppers in half and remove seeds and ribs.
- Place cut side down on foil or a sheet pan.
- Place peppers on top rack of the oven.
- Roast for about 15 minutes. Peppers should be well charred and black in most places. You should see the skin beginning to blister. You may need to roast for 5 more minutes.
- Remove from oven and place in a heatproof glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for at least 15 minutes before removing the plastic wrap.
- When peppers are cool to the touch peel off skins. They should peel off very easily.
- Store peppers in their juice in airtight container if not using immediately.
Peppers will last for 2-3 days. Besides this sauce they are excellent on sandwiches or tossed into other pasta dishes.