Ten years or so ago, I came up with the idea of an art auction to raise money for our community hall. Everyone could donate art that they no longer wanted on their own walls, or something that they had created themselves. We had some wild pieces, as well as some that were really beautifully done. We held another art auction in the summer of 2011, as well as one last summer, which did even better. We wondered if it was something that we could do year after year. Apparently there’s no shortage of art that people are willing to donate, and to buy!
The original event was held in April and kicked off with a Lasagne dinner & the Art Auction, followed the next day with a Community Breakfast and Walkathon around the island. We had a couple of large whalers to transfer us from one point to the next, as we don’t have a circuitous road, more like a wishbone.
Here’s the lasagne I came up with for that event. We did half of them vegetarian, and half with beef. My favourite was and still is the vegetarian version. This recipe makes a large roasting pan full, enough for 18 good-sized servings.
I use the full size rectangular foil roasting pans that are sold for roasting turkeys.
1 zucchini, cut into quarters lengthwise, then crosscut into ½” pieces
500 gr mushrooms, sliced
2 large onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
400 gr. Lasagne noodles (uncooked)
2.25 l of plain tomato sauce
1 T each of dried parsley, dried oregano & dried basil (if using fresh, use 3 T of each)
1 t ground Pepper
750 gr. Ricotta cheese
2 boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed or 2 – 10 oz bags of fresh spinach
600 gr. Mozzarella cheese, grated
olive oil for cooking the vegetables
Toss all the prepared eggplant, zucchini, red pepper and mushrooms together with about ¼ c of olive oil.
Using the roasting pan, cook the vegetables at 375° for 45 minutes, stirring twice during cooking.
Remove to a bowl once roasted.
While the vegetables are roasting, over medium heat sautée the onions and garlic in 2 T of olive oil, until softened and transparent, about 7 minutes.
Add the drained, diced tomatoes to the onions & garlic, cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add to the roasted vegetables, stir.
Stir the herbs & pepper into the canned tomato sauce.
Squeeze any moisture out of the thawed spinach. If using fresh, use as is, it cooks during the lasagne’s baking.
Mix the spinach with the ricotta cheese.
Spray the roasting pan with cooking spray.
Spread ¼ of the tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan.
Place 6 uncooked noodles on top of the sauce.
Place 6 noodles on top of the sauce.
Cover the noodles with the remaining sauce.
Scatter the grated mozzarella over all.
Spray the shiny side of a piece of foil with cooking spray. (if it’s not wide enough, you’ll need to fold two pieces together down the center a couple of times, to make it wide enough.
Place the foil dull side up and gently seal all the edges.
Cook at 350° for 1½ hours.
For the last 15 minutes of cooking time, remove the foil.
When the lasagne is removed from the oven, lay the foil on top and let rest for at least 20 minutes, before serving.
Replace the eggplant, zucchini and pepper with 500 gr of beef and 500 gr of mild Italian sausage (take it out of the casing and break apart with your fingers).
Cook the meats over medium heat until no pink remains. Drain off any fat.
Sautée the mushrooms with the onions and garlic. Add the drained, diced tomatoes to the vegetables, and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Combine this mixture with the cooked meat. Proceed as you would the vegetarian version.