Cold-weather vegetarian entrees from the pantry (Recipe: four-cheese lasagne)
Years ago, Ted and I attended a fancy wedding reception in New York City.
At the sit-down dinner, waiters came to each table, offering a choice of two entrees: one chicken, one beef.
The one vegetarian at our table was not amused.
She requested a vegetarian dinner. What the waiter produced was a plate with four lumps, two of mashed potatoes, two of some green vegetable.
That was the day I resolved never to expect vegetarians at my table to make a meal out of side dishes.
In a couple of weeks, our vegetarian kids and grandkids, and their meat-eating cousins, will be here together to kick off the holiday. Whenever we're all together, I make main courses that are vegetarian, with great "mouth feel" to satisfy the carnivores.
Here are some of my favorite vegetarian entrees for winter and holiday dining, and the pantry items that make them possible.
What vegetarian entrees do you like to make during the cold-weather months?
This recipe from the archives is a hit with both kids and adults, carnivores, omnivores, locavores, and vegetarians alike. You can make it ahead, and freeze it before or after cooking. Serves 8-10, with a spinach salad on the side.
16 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
8 oz low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground black pepper
16 lasagne noodles (no-cook or par-boiled)
4 cups marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade)
30 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1-1/4 cups grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Combine ricotta, cottage cheese, egg, nutmeg and black pepper in a small bowl. In a 9x13 baking pan, begin the assembly: spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom. Top with a layer of the noodles (you may need to break or cut some to fit them neatly in one layer), then plops of the cheese mix here and there (use 1/3 of the cheese). Add plops of sauce here and there (use 1/3 of the sauce), top with a layer of 1/3 of the mozzarella slices. Then again: noodles, ricotta mixture, sauce, mozzarella. Then a third time. Finally, add a fourth layer of noodles, and spread the remaining sauce on the noodles. Top with the parmesan cheese.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover, and bake 15 minutes more. Remove from the oven and allow lasagne to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.