One thing that shocked me when I turned vegetarian was how well my family adjusted to it: I had expected I would have to cook something for myself most of the time, but instead I found my mom and sister changing ingredients and trying new ones to turn normal recipes vegetarian. I’m truly thankful my family has been so supportive of my new choice of life and I’m happy I get to share so much of it with them.
One of my all-time favourite recipes are lasagnas. The first time I saw one i wasn’t too eager to eat it: it just didn’t seem like something good, so why waste my time? I was around the age of 7, and was already in love with food, and didn’t want to waste any time on food that wasn’t worth it. Veggie? Pfff, no thanks. Focaccia, cheese, ham? bring it on. Back to the main subject, the sight of lasagnas wasn’t the best, but they did have a nice smell and so I had a bite, and oh boy, it was delicious! Ever since then, I’ve been hooked.
A few weeks ago, my mom had the brilliant idea of making lasagnas with an adzuki ragù, and it was delicious! You could not tell it was made with beans!
I decided I would test the recipe with lentils too, and the result was just as good!
Be prepared though, because the recipe is pretty long, and so is the preparing time. You can easily split it in two days, though: the vegetarian ragù one day and the lasagna the next.
2 celery stalks
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cups lentils, cooked or adzuki
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
3 cans tomato pulp (480 g each)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
8/9 dried bay leaves
Dice carrots, onions and celery stalks and sauté with the oil in a large skillet on low for 30 minutes, or until carrots and celery turn tender.
Add the lentils and the wine, and allow it to simmer for a few minutes. The alcohol will evaporate, but the taste of the red wine will remain and add a nice note to the ragù.
Add the tomato pulp, the seasoning and the bay leaves, and let it cook for 3-4 hours circa on low, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking.
One of the tricks about a succesful ragù is the cooking time: the longer it cooks, the better!
Once it has cooked long enough, remove bay leaves and adjust seasoning to taste. Puré it to obtain a silkier and smoother texture.
250 g mozzarella (8.8 oz), diced
a package of pasta sheets
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
In a casserole dish spread a thin layer of ragù;
over it place pasta sheets;
then another thin layer of ragù, followed by some mozzarella;
and again a layer of pasta sheet.
Repeat till the last layer of pasta: cover that with some ragù and, finally, the shredded parmesan.
Cook in the oven at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
Here is what I call comfort food 😉