Celebrity Chef Aarón Sanchez's Muscian Wife Can Cook Too

March 6, 2013

It turns out that Food Network Star Aarón Sanchez isn't the only cook in the family. His Brooklyn singer/songwriter wife Ife Sanchez Mora created this delicious vegetarian lasagna recipe featuring spinach, eggplant, basil, carrots and porcini mushrooms. Into music as much as food? Check out Ife who's has been praised for her songs "blue-singed rock and roll" (NUVO TV) and "full of curves and sustenance" (NY Daily News) found on her latest album 'Fire Inside Of Me.'

vegetarian lasagnaVegetarian Spinach and Eggplant Lasagna

2 boxes lasagna noodles
1  12-ounce container of ricotta
1 pound mozzarella bufala
2 bags prewashed spinach
1 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise 1/8-inch thick
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced

Sauce
1  28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup celery, roughly chopped
1/2 cup carrots, roughly chopped
4 whole cloves garlic
1 small peeled red onion, roughly chopped
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1 pound ground soy protein
1/2 cup chopped Sun dried tomatoes
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 cube vegetable stock

Prep
In a food processor,  add celery, carrots, garlic, basil, onion and dried porcini and purée until it's finely minced.  Remove purée from processor and set aside.

In a medium saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil until smoking then add purée from above. Sauté for 10 minutes on medium low heat until golden brown. Add soy protein and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Add canned tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, sugar, cube of vegetable stock and cook for 30 minutes; stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  

Assembly
Boil hot water in a large sauce pot with 3 tablespoons of salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Add lasagna noodles and cook for 11 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Drain pasta, separate sheets under running cold water, then lay sheets flat on wax paper and set aside.

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add 1 clove minced garlic and spinach; sauté 5 minutes, or until wilted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In another pan add olive oil and minced garlic. Slightly sauté garlic then lay eggplant slices flat sliced in pan. Season with salt and pepper and brown on both sides; set aside.

Preheat oven to 375. In an oven-proof baking dish add a 6-ounce ladle of tomato sauce to the bottom of dish then cover bottom horizontally with lasagna noodles. Add an even layer of ricotta cheese, a layer of eggplant, and another layer (this time vertically) of lasagna noodles. Cut excess to fit snugly in pan.

Add another layer of tomato sauce, then another horizontal layer of lasagna noodles. Add a layer of sliced mozzarella and top with sautéed spinach. Add a last layer of noodles, another layer of tomato sauce, and a final layer of mozzarella.

Place in oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and browned. Remove from oven and let for cool for 15 minutes.

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