Broccoli is in season, because it’s on sale in every supermarket I visit… the bunches looked so green and healthy I wanted to do something different with them.
Is lasagna something different Madelyn, really?? Well, it’s different for me because I have never done lasagna with broccoli before, but lasagnas are a big part of my dinner repertoire. I used some inspiration from the delicious filling I did last year using broccoli and cauliflower. Broccoli is on sale, Cauliflower not… so we are using broccoli alone on this one.
9 whole-wheat lasagna sheets 1 whole bunch of broccoli 1 tbs olive oil ¼ cup red onions, chopped finely 2 cups of milk 3 ounces of cream cheese ¼ cup parmesan cheese 1 cup Italian Blend shredded cheeses, divided in half 1/3 cup ricotta cheese A pinch of red pepper flakes ½ cup of petite diced tomatoes ½ tsp Italian Seasonings A drizzle of olive oil 2 tsps balsamic vinegar Salt and Pepper to taste
It seems like a lot of ingredients, but let’s break it down so you can see it’s not that complicated…
- Prepare the broccoli by cutting up the florets into small pieces so they cook faster. I also use the stems… just peel the tough exterior and cut the stems very small so they will cook at the same time as the delicate florets.
- I use a steamer to boil the water for the pasta and steam the broccoli at the same time. I set up the steamer with as much water as it can accommodate in the bottom. I place the steamer on top and steam the broccoli until it is cooked completely and almost mushy. This will take about 10-12 minutes.
- While the broccoli steams, we make the white sauce… in a medium sized pan over medium heat add a bit of olive oil and the red onion. Cook a few minutes to remove the raw taste. Add the milk and the cream cheese and stir every so often to melt the cheese and start to thicken the sauce. When the cream cheese is incorporated into the milk, add 1/2 cup of the Italian shredded cheeses, the parmesan cheese and remove from heat. Whisk all together to melt and blend the cheeses and thicken the sauce. Set aside.
- When the broccoli is done, take the steamer off and place the broccoli in a medium sized bowl. Add the ricotta and season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Mash all the ingredients in bowl using a potato masher. Set aside.
- Using the water still boiling from the steamer, add salt and boil the lasagna noodles for about 8-10 minutes. I leave them slightly underdone so they do not break on me when assembling the lasagna.
- While the pasta cooks, season the diced tomatoes with salt, pepper, Italian Seasonings, drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Mix well and set aside.
- Now let’s assemble the lasagna… In a 9” x 13” glass baking dish sprayed with olive oil spray, place some ladles of the white sauce to prevent anything from sticking. Place 3 lasagna noodles at the bottom. Add ½ of the broccoli mixture, add ½ of the diced tomatoes, add a few ladles of white sauce, and sprinkle about 1/3 of the shredded cheeses left. And we start over again, another layer of noodles, the rest of the broccoli mixture, the rest of the tomatoes, more white sauce and shredded cheeses. Lastly, top with the last layer of noodles, pour enough white sauce to cover the noodles and allow it to seep into the rest of the lasagna. Finish off with the remaining shredded cheeses you may have left.
- Place the glass dish on a baking sheet to prevent any spilling in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes at 350F, until the filling/sauce is bubbling and the top gets golden brown.
- Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before serving.