Three Pepper Lasagna Timpano

Three Pepper Lasagna Timpano

Lasagna is not a regular at my table, but every time I finally decide to make it I never regret it. There’s something lovely and warm and filling about lasagna. From meaty tomato-based traditional recipes to the sausage, autumn squash and sage lasagna I loved so dearly to vegetarian – they all seem to be outstanding.

On my quest to find a new recipe to try, I ran across this simple guideline for lasagna timpano (look how pretty!). Apparently, timpano is the fanciest pasta cake I never heard of but wanted in my oven immediately.

It’s a domed layer cake of Italian deliciousness and not only wrapped, but also stuffed, with pasta. I figured you couldn’t go wrong with that. Here’s a more traditional version of timpano.

However, I’m not traditional. And since I don’t have anyone around who will whack my knuckles with a spoon for screwing up good Italian cooking, I decided to play with my own version of a lasagna/timpano love child. And it had to be rainbow. Because why the hell not.

Three Pepper Lasagna Timpano Three Pepper Lasagna Timpano

Enter three pepper lasagna timpano.

Three veggie and cheese filled layers of pretty colors and antioxidants that makes you feel like something full of pasta and cheese is healthy. It even kind of looks like the Italian flag with the red, green and white. Or the red, green, and yellow of, like, a million other flags.

Whatever, the point is that it’s pretty and chock full of fresh flavors. If you don’t like bell pepper, you’ll want to sit this one out because it uses three whole peppers. My mom’s not a huge fan of them, but she thought this was pretty good.

Three Pepper Lasagna TimpanoThree Pepper Lasagna Timpano

Also, go hog wild when paring the flavors for each layer. I list what I used below, but if you have a yellow curry paste you want to use for the yellow layer, then feel free. If you can find roasted red pepper paste (what’s that called again?) or you have fresh zucchini or you think dill is the bomb – use them! I don’t think there’s a wrong answer.

Baking notes: I undercooked my pasta just a tad too much. You’ll probably want to cook yours just under al dente instead. Also, if you’re afraid of the bottom getting too crunchy, cook it covered in foil to keep in some of the moisture. I’m happy to say that mine didn’t come apart like I feared it would and there was only a single spot where you could see any filling.

Three Pepper Lasagna TimpanoThree Pepper Lasagna Timpano

I’m so freaking proud of myself. If you could see the smile on my face when I unveiled that baby, it’d make you sick. I was in love.

Also, they make timpano bowls, but any oven safe bowl should work. I used a cheap metal mixing bowl and it came out fine. Who knew?

For cooking the vegetables, I used the same saute pan for all the vegetables because I hate doing dishes and we don’t have a ton of pans. I also really prefer my vegetables to have a little crunch and form even when baked, so my instructions call for sauteing them until mostly cooked but still crunchy. If you like them soft and “meltable”, simply cook them until soft before mixing.

While we have a shortage of pans, I felt absolutely no need to curb my voracious need to use a bucketload of bowls for mixing to keep my colors pristine. I was picky about that, but you don’t have to be. I don’t specify in the directions for that so use your own judgement.

My last note (promise): I taste as I go. I do not fear raw eggs. If you do, then use your best guess on the salt and pepper levels and any other mix-ins you use like the pesto. Or just live dangerously and taste a tiny bit.

And like my last recipe, I put effort into taking pictures so get ready for picture overload.

Three Pepper Lasagna Timpano Three Pepper Lasagna Timpano

Three Pepper Lasagna Timpano

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 package lasagna noodles
  • Olive oil for sauteing
  • About 1/3 cup diced onions
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 15 ounces of Ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese, small or large curd
  • 1/4 cup shredded white cheese of your choice, I used fontina
  • 1/4 cup shredded yellow cheese of your choice, I used cheddar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 each red, green, and yellow bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (or use fresh)
  • 1 small to medium yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 ripe red tomato, deseeded and chopped
  • 1-2 T prepared pesto, or more to your taste
  • 1/4 cup Vodka sauce or red pasta sauce, plus more for serving
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Fill one large pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles until they are just right before al dente. Drain but don't oil. That sticky pasta residue will help "glue" together your lasagna sheets.
  2. Once they're cool enough to work with, start layering the pasta sheets in your baking bowl, slightly overlapping each sheet. Keep layering until the bowl is covered and let the excess ends hang over the side - these will form the bottom later on.
  3. Reserve the remaining pasta sheets to use between the layers of filling.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  5. Meanwhile, saute the diced onion and garlic in oil until soft and fragrant.
  6. Mix onion and garlic with the ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, shredded white cheese, 2 eggs, and salt and pepper. Mix and set aside.
  7. Using the onion pan, saute the chopped yellow bell pepper and yellow squash until seared in spots but still crunchy. Remove from heat and mix with 1/2 cup of the ricotta mixture plus the shredded yellow cheese. Stir to combine.
  8. Saute the green bell pepper as above. When done, add to the thawed spinach, 1 cup of the ricotta mixture, and 1-2 tablespoons (or more to taste) of your pesto.
  9. Saute the red pepper and tomato as above. When done, add to 1/2 cup of the ricotta mixture plus 1/4 cup red sauce.
  10. There will probably be extra ricotta mixture left over if you follow this. This is in case you need more depending on your preference or vegetables, so adjust them now.
  11. Starting with the yellow mixture, layer half into the very bottom of your pasta bowl. Cover with cut or torn pasta sheets to cover that layer. Repeat with the remaining yellow mix and top with pasta. Repeat for each of the colored layers. One the final red layer is added, fold the ends of the lasagna sheets hanging over the bowl. Fill in with any remaining pasta to cover the bottom.
  12. Cover with foil for a softer bottom crust and back for about 1 1/2 hours or until the bottom layer is coloring and you can finally smell those fillings.
  13. Remove from oven and let it rest for at least 1/2 hour. It should still be plenty hot, but it less likely to fall apart on you. I didn't wait quite long enough and my cut piece fell in a little.
  14. Place a plate or cutting board over the bottom of the bowl and carefully flip. Cut into slices.
  15. Serve with vodka sauce or Parmesan cheese.
http://mostlyadventurouseating.com/three-pepper-lasagna-timpano/

And now for a little story in pictures.

Three Pepper Lasagna Timpano

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