Everyone from kids to adults to Garfield can agree that lasagna is the best. It tastes great and, while it takes a little time, it doesn’t take a whole lot of skill. Anyone with the inclination can develop their own special lasagna. Straying from the standard bolognese and mozzarella can seem daring, but really, this is just a casserole and casseroles were meant to be adapted.
If you’re working on devising your own special lasagna recipe, this roasted red pepper lasagna is a great place to start. The marinara and lasagna noodles make is feel familiar, but the chevre and roasted red peppers keep it fresh. Surprisingly light and creamy, it’s a delicious, fresh take on the classic lasagna recipe.
Roasted Red Pepper Lasagna (adapted from The Joy of Cooking)
for the marinara
1 quart whole peeled tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 large sprigs of rosemary
4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
pinch of salt
3 turns fresh black pepper
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and the carrot and saute until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Ad the garlic and saute a minute more, and then add the tomatoes, crushing each with your hand as you add it. Reserve the remaining tomato juice in case the marinara needs some, but I like a thick sauce and typically leave it out. Just as mixture starts to bubble, add the rosemary sprigs, turn heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
for the lasagna
4 red bell peppers, rinsed
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
3 medium scallions, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz. fresh cherve
1/4 cup (or more) milk
4 turns fresh black pepper
1 lb. dried lasagna noodles
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When water boils, stir in all of the lasagna noodles and boil until the noodles are cooked through with a little bite (1-2 minutes less than recommended cooking time).
Roast the red peppers over an open flame or in your broiler, rotating so that the skin is blackened on all sides. Place red peppers into a sealed brown paper bag and let sit for at least 5 minutes. Under cool running water, peel all of the skin off, and the deseed and mince the peppers.
In a medium bowl, combine the cherve and milk. Add enough milk so that the chevre will spread quite easily. Add the parsley, scallion, garlic, and black pepper, and stir until the mixture is well-combined.
To make the lasagna, lightly oil a 13 x 9” baking dish. Spread a thin layer of marinara on the bottom of the pan. Then add a layer of noodles. Spread 1/4 of the cheese mixture, sprinkle on 1/4 of the red peppers, and 1/4 of the Parmesan. Repeat for 3 more layers (omit the Parmesan in the final layer–reserve it for the top). Top with marinara, and Parmesan cheese. Cover the lasagna with foil, and bake for 50 – 55 minutes (remove the foil for the final 15 minutes) until the casserole is bubbly and the cheese is golden brown.
Cool for 10 – 15 minutes, slice and serve. Like all casseroles, this makes for awesome leftovers.