A few weeks ago I was trying to answer the question "what is your favorite food?" for a survey. I had to think about it for several days before coming up with an answer that would satisfy me. There are foods made by specific people that I love (like my grandmother's vegetable soup), and categories of food that I can't resist (don't laugh, but my mind first wandered to fresh vegetables), but I wanted to think of a specific dish that I love in all settings. The answer, I discovered, is lasagna. There are so many variations, each with different meats, cheeses, veggies, and sauces, that it doesn't ever get old. And all have the baked, bubbly, comforting taste that you can't beat. When I found myself with a ton of veggies last week, I decided to invent my new favorite lasagna... and luckily it lived up to that title.
Lasagna with ground chicken, summer squash, and mixed greens
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 pound ground chicken
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red peppper
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch collard greens, stems removed
1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and saved for another use
2 cups cottage cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
9 brown rice lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions
1 large zucchini, sliced thinly
1 large yellow squash, sliced thinly
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet, and saute onion until tender. Then add ground chicken and cook until browned. Stir in garlic and red pepper, cook an additional minute, and add both kinds of tomatoes, herbs, and salt and pepper. Let this simmer for 30 min while you prepare the other ingredients.
Plunge the collard greens and swiss chard into a large pot of salted boiling water and let cook until they begin to wilt (about 3 min). Drain the greens and let cool. Roughly chop them, and then combine with cottage cheese, egg, and 1/2 cup parmesan.
Spread a very thin layer of sauce into the bottom of a 9x13" baking pan. Then layer 3 noodles, a thin layer of sauce, 1/2 of greens mixture, and 1/2 of zucchini and squash. Repeat the layers again, and then top with last 3 noodles and remaining sauce. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for an hour. Then remove foil, top with mozzarella and remaining parmesan, and bake for another 10 min. Let sit for 10 min before serving. Serves 8-10.
As I said before, this was amazing. Because it was loaded with veggies, the lasagna was very filling without being overly heavy. I could taste all of the ingredients, and the greens and squash gave it a more complex texture than the sauce, noodles, and cheese alone would have provided. Perhaps this will only be my favorite until I make my next lasagna, but I can definitely deal with that. So what's your favorite type of lasagna??