The Yenta is still recovering from our Miami seder (next year in Savannah!) and not one but BOTH Widespread Panic shows this week, but I must share my recipe for Maztah Lasagna in case anyone wants to try it for Shabbos dinner.
Now, I know folks have been probably been slapping unleavened squares in a baking pan with tomato sauce ever since the fall of Rome, but I’d never made this dish before because it sounded … soggy. But when you have children to feed (not mention a husband who keeps trying to convince you that tortillas are kosher for Passover because they’re flat), you’re willing to try anything. So, after looking at a few recipes online, I came up with my own ideas about how to keep matzah lasagna from turning into mush.
Disclaimer: I come up with my own cooking ideas fairly often, but regular readers know that I rarely share them, because mostly, they’re gross. Please consider my humble assertion that this KICKED ASS.
Yo, Yenta!’s Matzah Lasagna
You will need:
8 squares of matzah
Tomato sauce (I used a jar of the store-bought stuff to save time – Barrilla’s Roasted Garlic – but being a bad Jew, I didn’t check to see if it was kosher for Passover)
A small can of tomato paste
A pinch of brown sugar
Half a chopped white onion
Handful each of chopped mushrooms, olives and capers (if you don’t like any of ’em, leave it out)
A bag of baby spinach
A bag of shredded mozzarella or Italian blended cheese
Salt to taste
Heat up a saucepan on medium with a couple of generous pours of olive oil. Throw in the onions, mushrooms, olives and capers and brown ’em up. Add the jar of sauce and let bubble a little; add tomato paste until smooth. Sprinkle in a little brown sugar; it really ties in the flavors. Turn to low. It’s gonna be a little thicker than you’re used to, but that’s what we want. Trust me.
Dump about 3/4 of the container of cottage cheese and half the container of feta into a bowl with the egg and spices. Mix until creamy – I used a whisk, but a handheld mixer would work even better.
Now, unlike regular lasagna, in which noodles absorb water and should be a juicy, bubbly mess when done right, matzah lasagna should be as dry as possible before it goes in the oven so that the matzah doesn’t turn to soup. Every other recipe called for rinsing the matzah to soften it; I thought this sounded like squish waiting to happen, and I recommend skipping it.
Spread a little sauce on the bottom of the pan and place two dry matzah squares side by side. Spread on a few tablespoons of cheese filling, not too much, but cover your corners. Add a layer of spinach, which will give up plenty of liquid to soften everything up. Shprinkle generously with shredded cheese. Dollop on a little more sauce to cover it all.
Repeat previous steps two more times. It will be tall. Push gently into the confines of the baking dish with one last layer of matzah. Then it’s more sauce and another cheese shower. Cover tightly with tinfoil and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes. Let cool before serving!
Add some soy crumbles sizzled in olive oil to the sauce to “beef” it up a little. Also, sliced zucchini or eggplant seared in olive oil can be substituted for any of the layers … mmmm…..
I prepared this at 1 o’clock in the morning (damn insomnia) and let it sit in the fridge overnight to bake the next day, which may have contributed to the superdeliciousness of it all. I hope yours turns out just as well.