It’s almost time to phase out the heavy winter comfort food for the lighter, fresher dishes of spring. ALMOST. In Park City, March can be fickle: sunshine and a sunburn on Friday followed by a snowstorm through the weekend (which is what just happened).
This twist on a traditional lasagna fits right in between the seasons, a mix of comfort food and spring flavors. The most interesting thing about this lasagna is the sauce, using sundried tomatoes instead of a marinara. To make it, I drained some jarred sundried tomatoes and pulsed them in a food processor with lots of basil and some fresh parmesan cheese. I transferred it to a bowl and added heavy cream to make a thick sauce. Yum!
For the filling, I used lots of tasty, fresh veggies: asparagus, mushrooms, and roasted corn. I also chopped up onion and plenty of garlic.
To get started, I browned a bunch of salty pancetta, then set it aside on a paper towel-lined plate. I got the onion started in the drippings, followed by the asparagus and mushrooms. Next came the roasted corn kernels, the garlic, and some crushed red pepper for a little heat. Beautiful veggies!
When the veggies were tender (but still had a bite), I transferred them to a bowl. I added the pancetta and some big scoops of ricotta cheese. The filling is done!
To assemble the lasagna, I started by spreading some of the thick sundried tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Next came a layer of halfway boiled no-boil lasagna noodles. (I was worried that the sauce didn’t have enough liquid in it to cook the noodles!)
Next came half of the veggie-ricotta mixture, then a generous sprinkling of shredded mozzarella cheese. I repeated the process, then added one last layer of noodles, sauce, and cheese. Let’s bake it!
There’s something magical about a lasagna fresh from the oven. The browned, bubbling, cheesy topping hides what’s inside and makes you want to dive in. So we did.
This dish tasted like no lasagna I’d ever had. The strongest flavor is the sundried tomato sauce, sweet and savory at the same time. Each bite included a jumble of yummy vegetables, with a salty pancetta surprise every now and then. The creaminess of a cheesy one-pot casserole satiates the comfort food cravings of chilly months, while the fresh veggies and unique sauce are hints of springtime– perfect for this crazy, in-between season in Utah.
What’s your favorite recipe for not-quite-springtime? Share with me!
Spring-ish Sundried Tomato Lasagna (adapted from Giada de Laurentiis)
- 9 lasagna sheets, cooked to less than al dente
- Olive oil
- 10 ounces jarred sundried tomatoes, drained
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese for sauce
- ¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese for layers
- 1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 8 ounces Italian brown mushrooms, sliced
- Kernels from two charred corn cobs (or 1 cup frozen corn, thawed)
- 8 ounces (or more) of diced pancetta
- 1 onion, diced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 15 ounce container ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Salt, pepper, crushed red pepper
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a food processor, combine the sun-dried tomatoes and basil. Pulse until the mixture is combined. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan and the heavy cream. Set aside.
In a large skillet, brown the pancetta until crisp. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and add the onion. After a couple of minutes, add the asparagus and mushrooms. After a few more minutes, add the roasted corn, garlic, and some crushed red pepper. Cook until all of the veggies are crisp-tender. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the ricotta, pancetta, a little salt, and some pepper. Stir to combine.
Spread some of the sun-dried tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9×12 casserole dish. Place three lasagna sheets over the sauce, then half of the veggie/ricotta mixture. Next sprinkle some mozzarella cheese and some of the remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan. Continue for 1 more layer. Top with lasagna sheets, some sun-dried tomato mixture, mozzarella, and Parmesan. Bake until the ingredients are warm and the cheese is melted, about a half hour. YUM!
Hungry for more? Check out the collection of recipes on the FOOD BLISS link above.
One year ago: Easter nostalgia, deviled eggs, and a handful of Tums.