Winter Vegetable Lasagne

This vegetarian recipe incorporates vegetables in a way that provides enough liquid to cook the noodles during baking.

For the sauce:  Rinse and dice 2 leeks and saute in 2 T. olive oil until tender.  Add 2 C. sliced portabello, shitake or other meaty mushroom along with salt, black pepper, and 1/8 t. red pepper flakes.  When the mushrooms soften, add 3 minced cloves of garlic, 1 t. dried basil and 1/2 t. dried thyme and cook until the garlic is soft.

Add one 28 oz. can of good quality tomatoes, chopped, plus their liquid.  Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for at least 1/2 hour.  Add more. salt or spices to taste.

For the lasagne:  Preheat the oven to 350.

Peel the stems of 1 large or 2 smaller heads of broccoli.  Chop the stems and florets finely.

Soak 4 C. spinach in water and drain.  Repeat until the water is clear.  Spin dry.

Toss the spinach and broccoli with 1 pint of Ricotta cheese.  Add the zest of 1 lemon and season generously with salt and pepper to taste.

In a 9 x 13 baking dish, make a thin layer of sauce on the bottom.  Add 1 layer of Lasagne noodles (uncooked), overlapping the noodles slightly.  Make another layer of sauce, then a thick layer of the ricotta mixture.  Repeat.  Finally, make one more layer of noodles topped by a thin layer of sauce and finally top with 1 1/2 C. mozzarella cheese or more.

Cover the baking dish tightly with foil, then bake for 25 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is nicely browned and bubbling.

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