Christmas Eve Lasagna

Christmas Eve Lasagna

I have already had a few requests for this recipe I mentioned in yesterday’s piece, so here it is.  It’s work, true, but well worth the effort.  If you don’t like smoked salmon, you can substitute fresh lobster meat and/or shrimp instead, but omit the nutmeg and use 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme in its place.  Don’t cook the shrimp first.  Stir it into the sauce and it will cook just fine when you bake the lasagna.

Ingredients: 1 pkg lasagna noodles, ¼ cup milk, 8 oz. mozzarella cheese

For the sauce layers: 3 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons wheat flour, 2 cups evaporated skim milk or 2 cups scalded skim milk, salt and pepper, 1 ½ cups micro planed or fresh grated Romano cheese, 12-16 oz cold smoked salmon, 1 cup frozen peas, 2 small or 1 medium yellow squash, 1 small sweet onion,  2 tablespoons olive oil.

For the ricotta layers: 8 oz. ricotta or low fat ricotta cheese, 8 oz low fat cottage cheese, 2 eggs or ½ cup egg beaters, zest of 2 lemons, ¼ tsp grated fresh nutmeg.

Method: Oil a lasagna pan, (approx. 11”x15”), and pour ¼ cup milk in bottom.

Cook lasagna noodles in a large pot as directed on package.  Rinse with cold water, drain, and layer flat on waxed paper or plastic wrap until ready to use.

Chop onion into fine dice, squash into medium dice.  Grate Romano cheese.

While noodles are cooking make the sauce and ricotta filling:

Sauce:  In a medium skillet, saute onion in olive oil over medium heat until translucent.  Add peas and squash and saute for two minutes.  Set aside.

In a large non-stick skillet, make roux with butter and flour, cooking over medium-low heat until golden.  Whisk in milk, ½ cup at a time, and raise heat to medium-high until mixture begins to thicken and bubble.  Add about 1 tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. or a little more to taste fresh ground black pepper.  Lower heat to simmer, and gradually whisk in the Romano cheese.  Stir in onion, peas, and squash.

Remove salmon from packaging and chop coarsely.  Stir salmon into sauce.

Ricotta filling: In a food processor or large bowl, beat together the ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, nutmeg, and lemon zest until mixture is light and fluffy.

To put it all together: Cover the bottom of the lasagna pan with one layer of noodles, slightly overlapping them.  Drop dollops of the ricotta mixture onto noodles by tablespoonfuls, using about 1/3 of the mixture.  Don’t worry if all the noodles are not covered, just try and evenly distribute the ricotta mixture.

Spoon 1/3 of salmon sauce over top.  Add another layer of noodles, then1/3 of the ricotta mixture, then 1/3 of the sauce, then ½ of the mozzarella.

Add final layer of noodles, then last 1/3 of ricotta mixture, then last 1/3 of salmon sauce.  Sprinkle top with remaining mozzarella.

Cover the lasagna loosely with foil and bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes.  Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes, or until edges are bubbling and top is lightly browned.

Serves 10-12 hungry revelers.

This can be made ahead and refrigerated up to two days before final cooking.  It also freezes very well.

Typing up this recipe, which first popped into my head almost three years ago, makes me think this blog was a good idea— if for nothing other than a place to record my favorite recipes I have created over the years.  As for running, I hit the road for 5.3 miles today, which felt as though I had taken it easy.  I remember not too long ago when 5.3 was my long run…and am amazed by how my body had adapted to this daily motion.  Which means, in the end, I can eat two servings of this decadent lasagna and not worry about the calories!

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