December 30, 2021 by Arden Montgomery
To be honest, I don’t identify as a Lasagna fan. I rarely order it when it’s on the menu and I can count the number of times I’ve made Lasagna on my fingers. Regardless, I’ve kept an open mind and a recent experience with Lasagna piqued my interest. After all, it’s layers of pasta and cheese. It’s always deserving of a second chance and I’ve been determined to have my way with it – The result on Christmas was noteworthy. I’ll continue to fine tune the recipe, but I wanted to share it with you for some feedback. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
I called it “Lasagna Verde” at first because the initial thought was to use mainly broccoli, spinach, and chopped herbs to top it off with. I decided to use only broccoli (not spinach) and I ended up making a red sauce that could easily stand on its own. There were leftovers of the sauce that we saved for a separate pasta dish a day later and now that I think about it, the broccoli pesto that this recipe calls for was also preserved for a separate dish a day later. So, this recipe gets bonus points for multi-use sauces when you make more than you need for the Lasagna!
Next time, I do want to experiment without the red sauce. I’m a fan of white pizza so I know I’d love a version of white lasagna! But for now, this Lasagna Verde (with a killer red sauce) will do…
*Note that the recipe below could serve 4. I made it for my husband and I and we have leftovers for the next day
Lasagna Pasta Sheets
1 cup Ricotta
12 Mozzarella slices (depending on how many layers of lasagna you’re making)
Lemon + zest to taste
2 heads of broccoli chopped for both the pesto and to sprinkle on every other Lasagna layer
2 bunches Basil
1 bunch Parsley
1 cup Pistachios
POM Chopped Tomatoes
1 chopped white onion
2 garlic cloves
Hot Italian Sausage (1-2)
Sweet Italian Sausage (1-2)
Red Pepper Flakes
Cracked Black Pepper
Chop onion, garlic, and parsley. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Start the red sauce by chopping onion and garlic and sautéing in a saucepan with olive oil (you can never have too much EVOO). Once the onions are translucent add in both sausages and brown for about 1-2 minutes. Bring the flame to medium + and stir in about a ½ cup of red wine and mix everything together allowing the alcohol to burn off.
Tip: With every “layer” of ingredients, add a layer (enough to cover the surface) of cracked black pepper and mix into the sauce.
Add in the chopped parsley and stir.
Tip: Don’t worry about taking the parsley leaves off the stem. I like to chop everything (stem included) and throw into soups and sauces. It maximizes the flavor!
Lastly, add a box of POM chopped tomatoes, stir, and bring to a simmer. Add red pepper flakes to taste if you like a bit of heat.
While the red sauce continues to cook, make the broccoli pesto and bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta. In a food processor, combine olive oil with basil, parsley, pistachios, and parmesan. Blanch the broccoli and be sure to pat it dry so the pesto isn’t too watery. Add half the broccoli to the food processor and blend until creamy. Set the remaining broccoli aside and chop. Add salt, pepper, and lemon to taste.
Mix the ricotta in a bowl with olive oil, cracked black pepper and lemon zest.
You can let the red sauce cook for hours, it will only get better. This dish in general can be prepped ahead of time.
Add the pasta to the boiling water for 2 minutes. Take the sheets out and set on a towel to dry. When you are ready to start layering, butter a baking dish and place the first layer of pasta. Spread the ricotta mixture and then add a second layer of pesto. Sprinkle chopped broccoli on top of the ricotta and pesto spread. Layer on another layer of pasta. For the second layer, spoon the red sauce and spread evenly. Place sliced mozzarella on top of the red sauce and cover with another layer of pasta. Repeat for as many layers as you’d like/you can.
Tip: Similar to the sauce, add a layer of cracked black pepper before starting the next layer of pasta. Doesn’t hurt to drizzle some olive oil either!
Make sure the final layer is sliced Mozzarella and butter the edges to ensure a nice brown crisp! Place the lasagna into the over and bake for 25 minutes. Once you remove the lasagna from the oven, you can drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle any leftover herbs.