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Published: 4/20/2008

Make-Ahead Mushroom Lasagna Alfredo

Nonstick oil spray

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large onions (for 2 cups chopped)

2 cartons (8 ounces each) sliced fresh mushrooms (see Cook's note)

1 large egg

16 ounces part-skim cottage cheese

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning blend

1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic

1/2 cup sweet Marsala (see Cook's note)

1 16-ounce jar Alfredo-style pasta sauce

12 no-boil lasagna noodles (see Cook's note)

8 ounces (2 cups) shredded part- skim mozzarella cheese

1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes

1/4 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese

Start to finish: 22 minutes preparation, plus 50 minutes unattended baking, plus 10 minutes resting time

Cook's note: We like the new baby-bella mushrooms, a cross between portabella and button mushrooms. Marsala is a fortified wine, and an inexpensive California bottle is fine. Leftover fortified wines will keep for several months. You can substitute sherry or Madeira. For testing, we used Barilla no-boil noodles. The box contains 15, and the extra 3 noodles can be stored for future use.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Spray two 8-by-8-inch baking pans with nonstick oil spray. Set aside.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch skillet. Peel and coarsely chop the onions, adding them to the pot as you chop. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to release their liquid and the onions are tender, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium-size mixing bowl, stir together the egg, cottage cheese, and Italian seasoning. Set aside.

When the mushrooms have released their liquid, stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the Marsala and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until almost all of it evaporates, about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour about 1/4 of the jar of Alfredo sauce into the bottom of the first baking pan, then another 1/4 of the jar into the second pan. Rotate the pans so that the sauce coats the pan bottoms. Place two noodles side by side over the sauce in each pan.

When the Marsala has evaporated, remove the skillet from the heat. Spoon about 1/4 of the mushroom-onion mixture over the noodles in the first pan. Repeat with the second pan. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of the mozzarella over the mushrooms in each pan.

Place two more noodles side by side over the cheese in each pan. Spoon half of the cottage-cheese mixture over the noodles in each pan, spreading to the edges of each pan. Spoon half of the diced tomatoes and their juices evenly over the cottage cheese. Top this layer in each pan with two more noodles. Divide the remaining mushroom mixture on top of the noodles in each pan. Divide the remaining Alfredo sauce between the pans, pouring it over the mushrooms and using a rubber spatula to remove all of the sauce from the jar. Use the spatula to spread the sauce, covering the noodles completely. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and the Parmesan evenly over both pans.

Cover with nonstick aluminum foil and bake 50 minutes. Remove from the oven, uncover and, if eating now, bake 5 more minutes. Remove from the oven and let the lasagna rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

If freezing, uncover the pan, cool to room temperature, recover with foil, and freeze for up to 1 month. Or refrigerate for up to 48 hours. Defrost for 24 hours in the refrigerator, and allow the lasagna to stand at room temperature, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Reheat, covered with the foil, at 325 F for 30 minutes. Uncover, raise the heat to 375 F, cook for 5 minutes more, and serve.

Each lasagna makes 6 servings.

Approximate values per serving: 288 calories (40 percent from fat), 13 g fat (5 g saturated), 46 mg cholesterol, 16 g protein, 25 g carbohydrates, 2 g dietary fiber, 542 mg sodium



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