Lasagna Primavera

I Love Pasta! But, I have to confess, I have yet to make pasta itself from scratch. When there’s really good pasta available in the market, I figure why bother—we’ve all got enough on our other plates. Though some store-bought fresh pastas cook up rather gummy and flavorless, I’ve found Vermont Fresh Pasta to have both excellent flavor and texture. I was inspired to make this dish when I came across their Organic Eggless Whole Whole Wheat Pasta Sheets, which are so easy to work with, and make for neat, easy-to-slice-and-serve layers. Having the ingredients on hand, this dish is really simple to put together, and can be made ahead to bake later, or, reheated for even better leftovers.

Nutrition wise, this is a one dish meal packed with protein, fiber, calcium, beta carotene, antioxidants, and hard-to-get vitamin D—not only from the cheese; Portabella mushrooms are a good source too. A food processor makes short order of the veggie prep. As for the sauce, you can make your own*, or select a simple fresh sauce from the market consisting mainly of whole ground tomatoes. This lasagna serves up well on nights when people are coming and going on different schedules. Buon Appetito!

1 pound fresh Whole Wheat Pasta Sheets
1.5 pound carton Cabot Cottage Cheese
1  1/4 cups freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, separated
4 cups good Tomato Sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1 pound fresh Spinach
1 large bunch fresh Broccoli
2 large Carrots
1 large Portabello Mushroom
1 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Fresh Basil for garnish, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Place spinach in a large glass microwavable bowl and steam slightly for a minute or 2. Drain excess moisture from spinach, and chop coarsely. Dry out glass bowl and return spinach. Blend in with spatula: cottage cheese, 1 cup Parmagiano, and Italian herbs.
3. In 9×13 glass baking dish, spread 2 cups tomato sauce evenly on the bottom. Top with 1 pasta sheet. (No need to boil pasta in advance, especially when using fresh.) Spoon out about 1/3 of spinach/cheese mixture onto pasta sheet, and gently spread over until even.
4. Grate carrots in food processor. Scrape from bowl and spread evenly over the cheese layer.
5. Place a second pasta sheet on top of the carrots. Add another 1/3 of the spinach/cheese mixture. Coarsely chop broccoli in food processor and spread evenly over cheese.
6. Place a third pasta sheet on top of the broccoli, and spread with the remaining spinach/cheese mixture. Wash and dry the portabello mushroom and slice thinly. Layer the mushroom on top of the cheese.
7. Place last pasta sheet on top of mushrooms. Top with remaining 2 cups of tomato sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and remaining 1/4 cup of Parmigiana.
8. Cover baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
9. Pierce lasagna with the tip of a sharp knife to confirm that it’s tender. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with chiffonades of fresh basil.