I am sure the title to this post raises many questions in your mind–like, do angels really have hair? why would I want hair in my dinner? and many, many more! Stick with me and I will shed some light on the origins of the name, sound ok to you??
A couple of night’s ago I was craving lasagna and was disappointed to find that I was out of lasagna noodles. Bummer, right? Not if you work with what you already have in the pantry like I do! I had plenty of about every other type of noodle just waiting for a big pot of boiling water, so I decided angel hair would work heavenly–ok, that is pretty bad, but I am still on my first cup of coffee and it is early, so back off!
As I was saying…once I decided on the noodles (hence the name) the rest was pretty easy. My biggest concern was that this would turn out more like a baked spaghetti or spaghetti casserole rather than a lasagna. Easy solution?! Yep, layer the ingredients! Another caveat is that I wanted to try adding beans to the dinner, why? ‘Cause I have never seen a lasagna with beans before and I thought (with an attitude) this is MY vegetarian, angel’s hair, potentially bean containing lasagna, so what the hay! That is when I decided to skip the ricotta (which I didn’t have on hand and never use anyway) and replace it with a bean puree! Quickly enough, I was busy pulling ingredients out of the fridge and pantry and honestly ended up making a pretty big mess in the kitchen…but it was very worth it! I was chopping and roasting and boiling and mixing and pureeing and baking and most importantly LOVING every second of my afternoon!
I had just finished pouring a couple of big glasses of Lodi Cab, when the oven timer rang. I had to laugh as my husband entered the scene wide-eyed with fright at the shape of the kitchen. The most enjoyable part of the evening though, was watching the transformation on his face (and a hint of drool develop at the corner of his mouth) as I pulled the lasagna pan out of the oven. The change from fright to delight told me everything I needed to know about my latest creation. The lasagna was beautiful–and the nose on this one was even better than the wine. You can almost smell it from the picture, can’t you?!
So how did it taste, you ask?? HEAVENLY–as expected! Plus, the leftovers are even better–the Mr. had a big piece for breakfast AND lunch yesterday and will likely do the same today! I guess that is a compliment to the chef? Indeed it is!
Bon appetit my friends!
Vegetarian angel’s hair lasagna
- 2 jars of your favorite pasta sauce (Bertolli organic tomato and basil is my favorite–they carry it at Sams)
- 1/2 c sun dried tomatoes (I buy mine at Costco–they are in oil)
- 1 # of asparagus, chopped into bite size pieces
- 2 red bell peppers, chopped into bite size pieces
- 2 T EVOO
- 1 c baby spinach
- 1 large jar of artichoke hearts (in water, from Sams)–reserve 2 T of the water for the sauce
- 4 T minced garlic
- 1 can great northern white beans, drained
- 1 package angel hair noodles
- freshly grated aged Parmesan cheese (I get this in bulk at Sam’s)
- Italian cheese blend
- 1/4 c sour cream (I use tofutti)
- 1/4 c red wine (make sure this is something you would drink!)
- 1/2 t dried rosemary
- 2 t dried basil
- 1 t dried oregano
- freshly ground sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- chipotle pepper flakes
- water for your boil pot
- PAM cooking spray
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Chop up the red bell peppers and asparagus into bite-sized pieces. Throw them in a lidded bowl with some EVOO, a generous grind of black pepper, and a sprinkle of chipotle pepper flakes. Shake vigorously to coat the veggies. Once coated, put the veggies in a baking dish and cook until the veggies are softened–about 25-30 minutes.
While the veggies are cooking start the sauce. In a large sauce pan, add a splash of EVOO and warm over medium low heat. Add 2 T garlic, a sprinkle of chipotle pepper flakes, 1 t each of dried basil and oregano and saute for just a minute or two–don’t let the garlic brown! Add the wine, artichokes and 2 T of the water from the artichoke jar and cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn down the heat to low and add the sauce.
Meanwhile, put the drained beans, 2 T (or 2-3 large cloves) garlic, basil, rosemary, sour cream, a dash of chipotle pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper, and about 1/4 c parm cheese in the food processor and blend until smooth.
In a big stock pot bring some salted water to a boil**. Add the pasta and cook until just al’ dente. Drain and get ready to build your lasagna!
Give your lasagna pan a quick spray of PAM. Add about 1/3-1/2 (depends on how many layers you want) of the noodles to the pan. Spread the 1/3-1/2 of the bean puree on the noodles. Layer on 1/3-1/2 of the pepper and asparagus mix. Add a thin layer of the spinach leaves. Cover with 1/3-1/2 of the sauce. Sprinkle with a combo of the parm and italian cheeses. Start the process over until you are out of ingredients or room in the pan! Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes. Let cool for 5 or so minutes before you serve! ENJOY!