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Lasagna Light

March 17, 1994|DONNA DEANE | TIMES FOOD STYLIST; Deane is co-author of "Simply Healthful Cakes" (Chapters Publishing: 1993; $9.95)

Most people imagine lasagna as a high-fat dish with loads of calories. This need not be the case.

This low-fat version layers a nonfat ricotta cheese mixture with dry-sauteed mushrooms, fresh tomato sauce and lasagna noodles.

You can saute the mushrooms without oil by placing a non-stick skillet over high heat; once the pan is hot, add the mushrooms. The heat brings out the juices quickly and eliminates the need for butter or oil.

Nonfat ricotta cheese is now available in several brands at the market. With nonfat egg substitute, a little Parmesan cheese and some seasoning, it makes a rich-tasting cheese layer.

The fresh tomato sauce is easy to prepare, full of flavor and almost without fat. Of course, the flavor depends on the tomatoes you use. If you can't find flavorful tomatoes at the market, substitute canned, which are better than fresh when tomatoes are out of season.

FRESH TOMATO LASAGNA 1/2 cup nonfat ricotta cheese 2 tablespoons nonfat egg substitute (equivalent to 1/2 egg) 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 tablespoon chopped parsley Salt, pepper 1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced 1/4 pound button mushrooms, sliced Salt, pepper 3 tablespoons shredded basil Herbed Tomato Sauce 4 cooked lasagna noodles, cut in half

Combine ricotta cheese, nonfat egg substitute and parsley in bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cook shiitake and button mushrooms in heated non-stick skillet, shaking pan and stirring just until mushrooms are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in 1 tablespoon shredded basil.

Spoon 2 tablespoons Herbed Tomato Sauce into bottom of each of 2 individual 1 1/2-cup baking dishes. Spread sauce evenly to cover bottom of dish.

Arrange 2 pieces of lasagna noodles, cut to fit dish, on top of sauce in 1 baking dish. Repeat with second baking dish.

Spoon ricotta filling into baking dishes, then spoon over mushrooms.

Spread 2 tablespoons Herbed Tomato Sauce over mushrooms in each dish. Then sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese.

Top with remaining noodles, then spread remaining tomato sauce over noodles. Sprinkle top of each dish with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 degrees 20 to 30 minutes or until hot through and browned on top. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon shredded basil over top of each dish just before serving. Makes 2 main-course servings or 4 side-dish servings.

Each main-dish serving contains about: 338 calories; 763 mg sodium; 14 mg cholesterol; 8 grams fat; 54 grams carbohydrates; 20 grams protein; 4.49 grams fiber.

Herbed Tomato Sauce 1 small onion, minced 1 large clove garlic, minced 1 teaspoon olive oil 1 pound ripe tomatoes 6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped Salt, pepper

Saute onion and garlic in skillet with olive oil until tender. Stir in tomatoes and basil. Bring to simmer. Cook about 15 minutes, until sauce-like and thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 1 3/4 cups sauce.

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