Nick Nolte's Vegetarian Lasagne
1 lb. zucchini, washed and chopped
1 lb. fresh mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
2 to 3 tbsps. butter
1 large clove garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. mint flakes, crumbled
Salt, freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cans (6 ozs. each) tomato paste
4 cans (6 ozs.) warm water
4 qts. boiling water
2 tsps. salt
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. green (spinach) lasagne noodles
1 lb. ricotta or cottage cheese
1 lb. grated mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Saute zucchini and mushrooms in butter flavored with garlic, rosemary, oregano, mint, salt and pepper until vegetables are tender. Stir in tomato paste and warm water.
Simmer, stirring over low heat until sauce is reduced in volume to 2 cups. Combine boiling water, salt and vegetable oil; bring to a rolling boil.
Add lasagne, a strip at a time, and cook until barely tender (about 10 to 12 minutes). Drain and rinse with cold water. If lasagne is not used immediately, let stand in cold water to keep strips separate. Prepare cheese layer by mixing together mozzarella and ricotta or cottage cheese with parsley.
Lightly grease a large ovenproof baking dish and spoon enough vegetable sauce to cover the bottom; top with strips of cooked lasagne; spread with part of the cheese filling. Repeat layers, ending with vegetable sauce. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake uncovered in preheated 350 degrees F. oven 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes to set before cutting into 3-inch squares.
Lasagne can prepared the day before and refrigerated. When ready to use, let stand at room temperature 1 hour, then bake in 350 degrees F. oven 1 hour. Serves 6-8.
Thoughts: Green (spinach) lasagne noodles are available in most health food stores. Nick suggests, "Whole wheat noodles are excellent, too." Feel free to experiment with herbs.
A small amount of sage used in lieu of mint gives a delightful flavor nuance to the lasagne.