Mamma Mia! Fresh Italian Lasagne!

"My recipe for vegetarian lasagne."
photo by The Spice Guru photo by The Spice Guru
photo by The Spice Guru
Ready In:
2hrs 15mins




  • PREP vegetables and herbs needed for the SAUTE FOR FRESH ITALIAN SAUCE (1 medium chopped onion, 8 ounces thinly sliced fresh mushrooms, 2/3 cup minced fresh basil leaves (reserving 1 tablespoon to refresh flavor later), 2-3 tablespoons minced fresh garlic, 3 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley, 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano leaves, and 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves); SAUTE in a large saucepan or pot in 1 tablespoon olive oil, between medium-low and medium heat until softened, about 7 minutes.
  • BRING 4 quarts unsalted water to boiling; CAREFULLY lower Roma tomatoes needed for recipe on a large spoon into boiling water; BLANCH until skins start to crack; REMOVE tomatoes and place into a colander; RINSE tomatoes under running cold water to remove skins; PUREE enough tomatoes to yield 3 1/4 cups; DICE remaining tomatoes to yield 3 1/4 cups; ADD both pureed and diced tomatoes to the saute mixture, along with 1/4 cup olive oil, 2-3 teaspoons ground fennel, 1/4 cup dry red wine, 2 teaspoons fine sea salt (if using fresh tomatoes), 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes; STIR in enough sugar or light corn syrup into SAUCE to balance acidity; RAISE HEAT to HIGH, stirring constantly until mixture begins to boil; REDUCE heat to MEDIUM-LOW, then SIMMER the sauce uncovered for 1 hour or slightly longer, stirring occasionally; REMOVE the SAUCE from heat; STIR in 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh basil leaves (to refresh flavor); SEASON to taste with fine sea salt if necessary.
  • IF PREPARING FRESH LASAGNE PASTA: While sauce is simmering: BEAT 3 eggs with 1 tablespoon olive oil gently in a medium bowl using a fork; into the large bowl of food processor MEASURE 1 cup semolina flour, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and 3/8 teaspoon fine sea salt; PROCESS in food processor at least 30 seconds; with processor still running, very slowly POUR beaten eggs into feeder tube until all of the beaten eggs have been added; continue to PROCESS until dough becomes very thick and consistently blended (or when it forms a ball); REMOVE ball of dough from processor; WRAP dough tightly with plastic wrap; LET dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. PLACE dough on a smooth clean surface dusted with semolina flour; ROLL out dough to 1/4 inch thick, SPRINKLE with semolina flour and repeat process until dough has a smooth, soft texture and with a balanced moisture level (not overly moist or dry); ROLL dough using a pasta machine (recommended), or a rolling pin to a 1/8 inch thickness, dusting very lightly with semolina flour if necessary, to prevent sticking; cut noodle dough into 2-3 inch width strips, with a 12" length; pasta does not need to be boiled first.
  • IF USING PACKAGED LASAGNE PASTA: MEASURE exactly 4 quarts of water (16 cups) into a large pot of water; BRING water to a full rolling boil; ADD 4 teasppoons kosher salt, then quickly but carefully add 9-12 pasta strips; COOK pasta until just tender (al dente), about 7 to 8 minutes; DRAIN lasagne noodles immediately in a large colander; REMOVE pasta individually using tongs and HANG pasta in (and over), the edges of the large pot and the colander to STRAIGHTEN, so that none of the noodles are touching; ALLOW to cool slightly.
  • PREPARE the PASTA BASTE by mixing 2 tablespoons olive oil with 1-2 cloves freshly pressed garlic (using a garlic press or mincing finely); BASTE lasagne noodles evenly on both sides in a 13 x 9 baking dish; REMOVE noodles and place aside.
  • WHIP the following ingredients of the FRESH SPINACH AND CHEESE FILLING in a large bowl, using an electric mixer: 3 cups whole milk ricotta cheese (Precious brand), 1 large egg, 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup cream, 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, and 1 small clove fresh mashed garlic (use a garlic press); FOLD in 1 cup finely chopped fresh spinach leaves and 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves (stems removed), until mixture is thoroughly blended.
  • LADLE a thin layer of the FRESH ITALIAN SAUCE into the bottom of a deep-dish lasagne pan (or minimize recipe into a 13 x 9 baking dish; SPRINKLE 1 tablespoon of the freshly grated parmesan cheese over the sauce; ARRANGE a row of FRESH LASAGNE PASTA lengthwise over the cheese-sprinkled sauce (depending on pasta size, you may trim pasta with kitchen scissors to fit into baking dish if necessary); SPREAD 1/2 (HALF) of the FRESH SPINACH AND CHEESE FILLING over the pasta, leaving a 3/4 inch space around edges; SPRINKLE 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese over the filling; LADLE 1/3 of the SAUCE over the mozzarella, followed with 1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese.
  • REPEAT layers in this order: (1) PASTA (2) the remaining FILLING (3) MOZZARELLA cheese (4) SAUCE (5) PARMESAN (6) remaining PASTA (7) remaining SAUCE (8) remaining MOZZARELLA; COVER with aluminum foil or casserole lid.
  • BAKE covered in preheated 350 F degree oven for 30 minutes, then carefully slide out oven tray from oven using oven mitts; REMOVE the cover from dish carefully; then SPRINKLE the GARNISH (1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese, 2 teaspoons seasoned Italian breadcrumbs and 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh Italian parsley); LEAVE lasagne uncovered; CONTINUE to BAKE lasagne for 15 additional minutes; REMOVE from oven and allow to cool and set for 10 minutes; SLICE (using a serrated knife) and SERVE.
  • SERVE and say, "MAMMA MIA!"!

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