Lasagna is the ultimate comfort food. And making a lasagna has become significantly less painful with the advent of “no boil” noodles. If you have never made a lasagna other than the traditional tomato sauce variety, you should definitely try a bechamel sauce-based lasagna like the one I outline here. As with any recipe, I encourage you to mix and match using ingredients that you like. If you hate asparagus, use mushrooms. If mozzarella sounds too boring, try Emmentaler. Recipes are just a rough map, and improvisation is the key to making a recipe your own.
For the filling:
1 bunch medium asparagus spears, slices lengthwise into 2 equal pieces each
1 zucchini, sliced into 1/4” coins
1 yellow squash, sliced into 1/4” coins
1# mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded
1 16 oz. container cottage cheese, pureed in the blender or food processor ( I almost always substitute pureed cottage cheese for ricotta. I find what passes for ricotta at the grocery store to be sad and bland. Cottage cheese has a great, tangy flavor).
1 package no boil lasagna noodles
S & P
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a large sheet pan, place the sliced asparagus and the squash. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp. of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss well and bake for 12-15 minutes, just to cook out some of the water. Adding raw veggies to a lasagna will leave a watery result. Set aside to cool and reduce the oven temp. to 350 degrees.
Puree the cottage cheese and slice or shred the mozzarella and set aside.
For the Sundried Tomato Bechamel Sauce:
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
3 C. milk
3/4 C. loosely packed sundried tomatoes, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes.
1/2 C. grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/2 C. dry white wine
Soak the sundried tomatoes in hot water. Once soft, whiz them in the blender with the 3 cups milk until finely chopped and set the mixture aside. In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir regularly, cooking for 3-4 minutes or until the mixture just barely starts to become light brown and toasty. Pour in the sundried tomato milk and whisk vigorously to mix. Add a generous pinch of salt. Let the mixture come to a simmer, whisking occasionally. Once simmering, stir regularly for 1-2 minutes until you notice the mixture begin thicken. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano in three stages, stirring thoroughly between each addition. Once the cheese is melted, whisk in the dry white wine and set aside.
To assemble the lasagna:
Coat a large 9 X 13 baking dish with a thin layer of the bechamel-wine sauce. Next, add one layer of noodles, then all of the asparagus, then 1/2 the pureed cottage cheese, then 1/2 the mozzarella. Add another layer of noodles, the sliced squash, and then the remaining cottage cheese and mozzarella. Top with a final layer of noodles and then pour all of the remaining sundried tomato bechamel over the top. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes or until bubbling. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 12-15 minutes to brown the bechamel sauce. Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.