August 22, 2008

Pasta & Co. Black Bean Lasagna

I am still a little defeated from last night's dinner debacle. I was debating if I should try this new recipe tonight, or save it for another time...due to my loss of confidence. Then, I was inspired by the Olympics. An Olympic athlete would persevere....and so will I! I may not be able to pole vault or dive or swim or play beach volleyball or do gymnastics or platform dive or run or throw a disk thingy or jump hurdles or....(okay, we would be here all day if I listed all the events that I would suck at)....BUT I CAN COOK! I MUST COOK! I think I can...I think I can...

Okay, enough tomfoolery. I photocopied this recipe from my friend Claire's Pasta & Co. Encore cookbook. It looks really tasty and I cannot wait to try it. I love all the flavors included in the ingredients, but I am dying to find out how the whole thing comes together. This is a long recipe, so prepare yourself...

Pasta & Co. Black Bean Lasagna
Serves 6 to 8

Rice mixture:
1 can (15 ounces) black beans
2/3 cup uncooked brown rice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Heaping ¼ teaspoon salt
Heaping ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 cup frozen corn, thawed, rinsed and drained but not cooked
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable stock
1/3 cup seeded and diced Anaheim peppers
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, well drained
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

Bean sauce:
¾ cup vegetable stock, divided
2 tablespoons finely diced onion
2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1-½ teaspoons dry sherry
½ teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

To assemble:
2 2/3 cups marinara sauce
6 sheets fresh lasagna (or enough cooked dried lasagna noodles to make three layers in a 9-by-13-inch pan)
1 cup nonfat quark or ricotta cheese
2 2/3 cups grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
¼ cup freshly made bread crumbs

1. To prepare the rice mixture: Drain the beans, reserving the liquid. Measure 2/3 cup of the beans for the rice mixture and reserve. Save the remaining beans and liquid for the bean sauce.

2. Cook the rice according to package directions until tender. In a dry skillet, roast the cumin and coriander, taking care not to burn them. Mix hot spices with cooked rice, stir in salt and pepper, and let cool. Stir in corn, vegetable stock, Anaheim peppers, chilies, cilantro and reserved 2/3 cup black beans. Set aside.

3. For the bean sauce: Place 2 tablespoons of the vegetable stock in a saucepan. Add onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, chili powder, pepper, sherry and sherry vinegar. Simmer 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and the remaining black beans and their liquid and cook for another 8 minutes. Remove from the heat.

4. Place bean mixture in the work bowl of a food processor equipped with a steel blade. Process until almost smooth, leaving some pieces of bean intact. Add the remaining vegetable stock and cilantro. Reserve.

5. To assemble: Spread 2/3 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of a shallow 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cover with one layer of uncooked fresh lasagna (or cooked dried) noodles. Spoon on half (about 2 cups) of the rice mixture and ¾ cup of the bean sauce. Top with ½ cup of the quark or ricotta and 1-¼ cups of the mozzarella. Cover with another layer of lasagna noodles and 1 cup marinara sauce. Follow with the same amounts of rice, black bean sauce and cheese as before. Top with the last layer of noodles and press lightly with fingertips to distribute ingredients evenly in the layers. Top with the last cup of marinara sauce, the remaining mozzarella and bread crumbs.

6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake lasagna for 35 minutes, or until sauce bubbles around the edge and top is nicely browned. If top browns too quickly, cover with aluminum foil during last 10 minutes of cooking. If baking lasagna straight from the freezer, add about 20 minutes to cooking time. Once out of the oven, let lasagna set up for approximately 15 to 20 minutes before cutting. (This is critical for ease of serving.)

From "Pasta & Co. Encore" by Marcella Rosene.

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