April 16, 2009

Carolyn's Veggie Lasagna with Silken Tofu "Ricotta"

Hodo's own Carolyn Ash submits her favorite way to cook with Hodo.

Customers always ask what to do with our silken tofu, and I get tired of hearing myself say, "I add it to smoothies for cholesterol-free protein and cream!" I felt inspired to start experimenting.

One of my first adventures involved using the custard as a substitute for ricotta cheese in lasagna. Success! The custard provided an equally satisfying creamy layer between the noodles and chunky sauce. A delightful unintended consequence resulted: the lasagna was lighter, giving me the added benefit of being able to eat a huge portion sans stomachache!  

And I should be honest, very few hedonistic activities bring me as much pleasure as putting away a large, saucy, cheesy slice of lasagna, paired with a glass of rich Bordeaux. Especially when there's no place to be the next morning.

Veggie Lasagna with Silken Tofu Custard

12 no-bake lasagna noodles
assorted seasonal vegetables (best combinations will involve varying textures and flavors, such as carrots, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, and onions)
3 T olive oil
6 cloves garlic
2 T fresh basil
1 T rosemary
1 T oregano or marjoram
5 cups mozarella cheese
1 1/2 cup parmesean cheese
1/2 lb Hodo silken tofu custard
1 egg
1/2 cup chives or green onions
50 oz. chunky tomato sauce

Preheat oven to "broil." 

1. Cut up vegetables into bite size pieces. If using potatoes, carrots, or other root vegetables, boil for 20 minutes, or until slightly soft. If using asparagus, steam for 15 minutes. Mix together all vegetables (except greens) in a large mixing bowl with 2 T olive oil, 3 cloves crushed garlic, thinly shredded basil, and freshly ground pepper. Oil a baking stone or sheet. Spread the veggies evenly over it. Broil for 10-20 minutes, or until crispy. Remove vegetables. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

2. Shred the parmesean cheese. Reuse the mixing bowl to combine the soy custard, pepper, finely chopped chives or green onions, 3 cloves crushed garlic and 1 cup parm. Set aside the other half cup of parm.  Beat in the egg.

3. Bring tomato sauce to a boil. Add broiled vegetables and spinach (or other seasonal greens). Mix in Oregano and other favorite Italian seasonings. Simmer just long enough to reduce (10-20 minutes) the vegetables.

4. Shred the mozarella.

5. Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a deep lasagna pan. Layer the lasagna in this order: noodles, custard/parm mixture, tomato sauce, mozarella. Repeat until ingredients run out (I like to make 3 layer lasagnas so that each layer is thick and juicy; others enjoy the feat of 5 layer lasagnas which are beautiful, and often hold together better, but are not as creamy.) Top off the last mozarella layer with the saved 1/2 cup of parmesean.

6. Bake lasagna for 30 minutes, or until the cheese reaches desired crispiness. Allow 20 minutes to cool.

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