It is time for Secret Recipe Club again! In case this is your first time seeing a Secret Recipe post: In the Secret Recipe Club, each blogger is assigned a different blog each month. They secretly choose a recipe, prepare it, and post it on a designated day. It is such a fun group!
This month, I was assigned to Fried Ice and Donut Holes. I just love the title of Melissa’s blog. When Melissa was younger, her grandfather would threaten to feed her Fried Ice and Donut Holes for dinner if she misbehaved: feed her nothing, such a clever name. Melissa is a teacher and started her blog in 2009 as a hobby. She has so many wonderful recipes to choose from! I had a difficult time choosing a specific one, but eventually decided on Individual Lasagne with Vodka Cream Sauce. My mom was in town visiting when I was set to try out the recipe and I needed something vegetarian for her. Chad and I had a work event to go to that night while my mom watched Evan; so I made these after lunch, snuck one for myself, and saved the others for them to enjoy while we were gone.
Other recipes that jumped out at me: Jamaretti Cookies, Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Macaroni and Cheese, Honey Sesame Rolls (this one almost beat the individual lasagne), Macarons with Nutella Buttercream, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip (I would have jumped straight to this one if I didn’t do a cookie dough recipe for SRC last month), and Sun Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Risotto.
There is a bit of cooking involved, but I actually found the prep work less labor intensive than the Venezuelan lasagna recipe I posted last week. There were at least less dishes involved. The sauce can be made a day or so ahead of time. Just place on the stove as the lasagne bake until heated through. I love the presentation of the individual packages and it is a great version of lasagna for those who are vegetarian. Vodka cream sauce is a favorite of mine and made this dish even more amazing, but you can also use whatever sauce you prefer. They can be inverted onto plates for serving or even kept in the ramekins with some sauce poured over the top. Warning though- the one I kept in the ramekin for the top photo was a bit more messy to eat.
Individual Lasagne with Vodka Cream Sauce
Adapted from Fried Ice and Donut Holes
4 individual lasagne
Vodka Cream Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (32 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasonings
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
8 dried Lasagna noodles
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces mushrooms, chopped
1 cup fresh baby spinach
15 ounces Ricotta cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
4-8 ounces Mozzarella cheese
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
To make the Vodka Cream Sauce: In a medium saucepan, drizzle olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook until just fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another minute. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings. Cook until heated through and tomatoes begin to break apart, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and vodka sauce. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring often, until the sauce reduces by 1/4th, about 20 minutes.
Mix in the cream and continue to simmer until heated through. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until needed, then heat on the stove over low heat with ready to serve.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lasagna noodles and cook until al dente, just tender. Drain.
In a medium skillet, drizzle 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Cook the mushrooms until they begin to soften and darken in color, about 3 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook until just wilted. Remove from heat, drain any excess liquid, and allow to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, combine mushrooms and spinach with Ricotta, Parmesan, egg, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease 4 (8 ounce each) ramekins with butter or oil. Place two lasagna noodles crosswise in the bottom of each prepared ramekin. Top each with 1/4 cup of the vegetable cheese filling. Sprinkle with about 1-2 tablespoons of Mozzarella and a large pinch of Parmesan. Cover the filling with both sides of one noodle. Cover with another 1/4 cup of the filling, Mozzarella, and Parmesan. Cover with both sides of the other noodle. Spread more filling over the top and sprinkle with Mozzarella and Parmesan.
Bake in preheated oven until cheese is bubbly and golden, 30-40 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before inverting on a plate and serving with vodka cream sauce.