Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 18: Napoli, Part 2 - Pompeii

After our morning in Capri and Sorrento, we took a ferry back across the Bay of Naples. After we docked, we took a short bus ride to the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. Pompeii, as you may know, was destroyed and buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. The ash and soot entombed and preserved the city until it was rediscovered in the mid-1700s. Today it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy, and with good reason - it is utterly unforgettable and almost indescribable. Like the Grand Canyon, you simply have to see it for yourself!

Once inside the walls of Pompeii, you can see the outline of Mount Vesuvius in the distance. It's a little eerie!

It is completely fascinating to me that this entire city was excavated - can you imagine how much work that must have been?

We were just in awe of the place, walking up and down the cobblestone streets of a long-buried city.

Check out the bakery! You can see the old stone ovens and millstones used for grinding wheat.
This amphitheater is remarkably well-preserved. You can just imagine the gladiator matches here!

I figured, if archaeologists can dig out the ruins of Pompeii, I can at least attempt to make one of my favorite Italian dishes. I don't know what it is about lasagna, but I've only made 4 or so in my entire life. And I love lasagna, so this is a shame. But after making the Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta & Spinach from Appetite for Reduction, I think all that is about to change.

I had no idea how easy this lasagna would be to make. There are several steps involved, but you can do several things at once, which makes it easy to pull off. While the cauliflower is roasting, you can boil the lasagna noodles and prep the red sauce.

After the cauliflower is roasted, you just mash it up with some tofu, salt, pepper, nooch, and fresh lemon juice.

Then the assembly begins! First a layer of sauce, then a layer of noodles, then a layer of the cauli ricotta. Sprinkle some freshly chopped spinach on top:
Then ladle on some of your red sauce.
Now repeat! You create another identical layer, then finish off with a top layer of ricotta and sliced black olives.

 Look at those layers! Yummmm.....
After 40 minutes in the oven, I pulled out this delicious-looking dish!
 It was a little messy to slice, but I finally got a good-looking piece:

The lasagna was devoured by all three of us. My toddler son loved it (except the olives :) and ate his entire plate. The leftovers were even better the next day! In fact, I might make this a day ahead next time. I think it helped the flavors to meld, and the layers "stuck" together better after a second baking. I'll probably also add even more veggies (zucchini, onions, mushrooms, eggplant) next time to really bulk it up. But I couldn't believe the nutrition facts on this dish - only 300 calories and 6 grams of fat per serving, and it makes 6 BIG servings! It also supplies 35% of your vitamin A, 150% (!!) of your vitamin C, 25% of your calcium, and 30% of your iron. This is a lasagna I can feel GREAT about eating and serving to my family!! 


vegan.in.brighton said...

I loved Pompeii when I visited as an ancient history student many years ago, I can't wait to go back one day. I love that lasagne too!

Bethany said...

Oh, that must have been SO fascinating for you as an ancient history student!! That's so neat. I just thought it was so interesting to see an ancient city. The Roman baths were particularly cool!

Carrie said...

What am I waiting for?! I still haven't made this lasagna!

Pompeii sounds like such a fascinating place to visit!

Bethany said...

Yes, Carrie - make this lasagna! Trust me, if I can make it, ANYONE can make it! LOL

Pompeii was so amazing...definitely one of the coolest places I've ever been! :)