Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Caprese Lasagna Casserole

I got the idea for this casserole because I didn't have any lasagna noodles on hand.  This was supposed to be a Lasagna Roll Up, but instead I used a layer of egg noodles with the same ingredients. Probably not as cute, but delicious anyway. I used fresh tomatoes from our SLO Veg box and fresh basil from the plants I have growing in my kitchen window. I included the recipe for the marinara sauce, but I just used a jar of sauce from Trader Joe's for this dish. Best of all, I put this together a day ahead of when we would eat it, thus freeing myself up for a whole day of play!

Caprese Casserole
16 oz. egg noodles, cooked
2 cups cottage cheese
1 large egg white
1/2 cup freshly each, finely shredded Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese, plus 1/4 additional Mozzarella cheese
freshly ground black pepper
3 - 4 medium Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced (about 1/6 inch thick slices)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
1 cup marinara sauce, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to directions listed on package to al dente. Drain pasta (DO NOT rinse with water).
For filling, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together cottage  cheese and egg white until well blended. Stir in Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses and season with black pepper to taste (The cheese adds enough salt so you don't need to add more).
In a buttered casserole dish, spread about 1/4 cup marinara sauce on bottom of dish and add a layer of noodles. Spoon about 1/2 cups of the cheese mixture over the layer of noodles and spread into an even layer. Top with thin tomato slices over cheese mixture then sprinkle fresh basil over top. Repeat layers until all the ingredients are used up, ending with a layer of sauce. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella. Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Remove from oven, plate pasta and garnish with plenty of basil ribbons. Serve warm.

For more vegetable, I paired the casserole with some sauteed spinach and onion.

Simple Marinara Sauce
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add onions to hot oil and saute about 3 minutes until soft, adding garlic during last minute of sautéing. Pour in crushed tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture just to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and allow sauce to cook for about 25 - 30 minutes (which will allow some of the water in crushed tomatoes to evaporate) while you prepare pasta and cheese filling.

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