The Ultimate Bar/Bat Mitzvah Celebration Book by Jayne Cohen and Lori Weinrott
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6 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1 large eggplant, peeled and diced

4 tablespoons olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 large onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic; 1 finely chopped, 1 coarsely chopped

1 pound spinach, washed and stemmed

1 quart whole milk

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 pound lasagne (do not use "No Boil" variety)

vegetable oil spray

12 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

2 cups ricotta cheese

1/4 cup julienned fresh basil
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange carrots and eggplant on separate rimmed baking sheets, coat them lightly with olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste, and roast until soft, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

    Coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with 2 tablespoons of the oil and place over medium-high heat. Add onions, finely chopped garlic, and spinach and cook, stirring, until spinach is just wilted. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then press out moisture from spinach mixture and reserve.

    To prepare the sauce, in a medium saucepan, gently simmer the milk with the coarsely chopped garlic for 15 minutes to infuse the milk with flavor. Do not allow it to boil. In another medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat and slowly whisk in the flour. Continue whisking constantly for about 3 minutes to incorporate fully. Slowly pour the infused milk through a strainer into the pan with the roux, whisking continuously to prevent lumps until incorporated. Simmer, stirring often, until smooth and thickened. Whisk in 1 cup of the Parmesan until melted and well incorporated. Remove from heat and set aside.

    In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the lasagne noodles and cook until barely tender. Drain and separate the noodles.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    To assemble lasagne, spray a 10x12x4-inch pan with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and arrange one-quarter of noodles side by side on bottom. Spoon the roasted carrots on top and sprinkle with half the mozzarella. Layer with another quarter of noodles, top with the spinach mixture, and spread with ricotta. Top with the basil. Layer with another quarter of noodles and top with roasted eggplant. Top with remaining half of mozzarella and half of the sauce. Layer with remaining noodles and cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with the rest of the Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes to brown the top. Remove from oven and allow lasagne to rest for at least 20 minutes before cutting. Serve hot.

    Yield: 8 - 10 servings
The Ultimate Bar/Bat Mitzvah Celebration Book
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