Lasagna is one of my favorite dishes to fix when my family comes into town or another large gathering. But, my recipe is also one of the most calorie-laden in my file of recipes. So I was really happy to get this recipe via e-mail revealing the winner of CorningWare's Simply Lite Bakeware Contest calling for original, light, low-fat recipes. The winner, Richard Swanson of Waterford, Conn., said he tested this recipe out on his co-workers, only telling them that it was reduced-fat lasagna. When it was cooled for 10 minutes, it cut into perfect portions.
"I got a few e-mails back from my testers and none of them could tell there were beans or mushrooms in it at all," he said. "And they all said it was excellent."
I plan on giving it a try. See what you think.
Secret Switcheroo Lasagna
1/2 pound (93-percent) lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
8 ounces fresh baby bella mushrooms, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (24-ounce) jar of marinara sauce
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups part nonfat ricotta
1 1/4 cups grated parmesan cheese, divided
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella
1 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1 (12-ounce) pack of oven ready lasagna noodles
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 F. Brown and crumble the ground beef in a dry Dutch oven over medium-high heat. As the beef starts to brown and release liquid, add the onion and cook until they are translucent. Then add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for another 7 -10 minutes or until the mixture starts to look dry, stirring occasionally. Add the crushed tomatoes, stir to deglaze the pan and then stir in the jar of marinara sauce. Lower heat and cook uncovered at a low simmer for 20 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
Place the beans into a food processor and grind them for 1 minute, until pureed. Add the ricotta, egg, 1 cup of the Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the basil; process until fully mixed and creamy. Remove bowl from processor and set aside.
Prepare a 3-quart, 9- by 13-inch baking pan by spooning a 1/2 cup of the meat sauce into the bottom and spreading it around. Place three of the lasagna noodles into the bottom of the pan and spread 1 cup of the ricotta on top of them. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of mozzarella on top and spread 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce over top. Repeat these steps twice and top with the remaining three noodles. Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the top, sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan on top of the sauce.
Cover the pan with foil and place in the oven for 15 minutes; remove foil and cook for another 30 minutes, until cheese is slightly browned. Remove pan from oven and let lasagna set for 10 minutes. Cut into 10 servings and serve.
Nutritional analysis: 424 calories and 11.7 grams fat per serving.