This is my traditional Thanksgiving dish I started making when I was the only vegetarian in my family and needed to make sure I had enough veggie food.
I love this dish. It is so simple to prepare, easy to shop for and is the ultimate comfort food. I won’t deny that it isnt healthy, but when prepared for a large group of people it ends up being a small bit of delicious indulgence. I do use low fat cheese, but you can also use whole wheat noodles, home made low fat pesto and any other substitutes that you prefer.
Adapted from epicurious.com
3 Cups Ricotta Cheese (part skim)
3 Cup shredded Romano, Pecorino and Fontina Cheese
2 Cups shredded Mozzarella (part skim)
2 10oz packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 110z package of prepared Pesto
4 Cups bottled chunky pasta sauce (I use garlic and onion)
1 package smart ground
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 no boil noodles
Heat smart ground and olive oil in a medium sized pan over medium heat until meat begins to brown. Place into large bowl and mix in pasta sauce.
Blend ricotta, 1 cup shredded cheeses (not including mozzarella), salt and pepper in a medium size bowl. add egg and mix to smooth consistency.
In a separate bowl blend spinach and pesto.
Preheat oven to 350 and use a bit of olive oil to coat the inside of a 13x9x2 baking dish.
Spread one cup pasta sauce in the bottom of the dish. Arrange 3 noodles side by side on top of sauce to cover dish bottom. Layer 1/3 of ricotta mixture on top of noodles. Add 1/3 Pesto spinach mixture on top of ricotta cheese. Sprinkle with 1/3 mozzarella and repeat twice using sauce, noodles, ricotta, pesto and mozzarella. Top with three noodles and last cup sauce.
Cover with foil and cook for 35 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with two cups cheese mixture and bake for 15 more minutes. Let sit for ten minutes and then enjoy!
This also tastes amazing as a leftover and can be easily frozen and reheated. YUMMY