Think potatoes are the bad guys in your diet? Think again

Most of us take potatoes for granted. They are a good source of lots of different nutrients, and we now know that carbs, in moderation, aren’t the evil diet-killers we once thought they were.

Baby potato, greens, garlic and chickpea hash from “Simple Green Suppers: A Fresh Strategy for One-Dish Vegetarian Meals” by Susie Middleton. Contributed by Randi Baird.

The James Beard-winning cookbook author Raghavan Iyer agrees, which is why he recently deviated from Indian-themed cookbooks to write “Smashed, Mashed, Boiled and Baked — and Fried, Too!: A Celebration of Potatoes in 75 Irresistible Recipes” (Workman, $16.95). The book reclaims the oft-maligned potato in many imaginative forms, including this lasagna.

Here’s a handful of other healthy potato recipes that we are featuring in this week’s Wednesday food section for dishes like roasted potato salad with mustard-walnut vinaigrette; crab, spring potato and watercress salad; and a baby potato, greens, garlic and chickpea hash (above).

RECIPE

Italian Potato Lasagna

Thinly sliced potatoes add heft, texture and flavor to a traditional lasagna, one of the many dishes in Raghavan Iyer’s new book. Contributed by Matthew Benson

2 cups ricotta cheese
Zest from 1 large lemon
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium-size yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
8 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 ounces baby spinach, stems removed and leaves thoroughly rinsed and dried
Freshly ground pepper
Cooking spray
1 (23-ounce) jar tomato sauce
12 ounces ready-t0-bake lasagna sheets
12 ounces shredded Italian cheese blend

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment or aluminum foil. Set aside.

Place the ricotta in a medium-size bowl and stir in the lemon zest, eggs, basil, red pepper flakes and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Scrub the potatoes well under cold running water. Fill a medium-size bowl with cold water. Slice the potatoes into 1/8-inch-thick planks and immerse in water while you work with the other vegetables.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil appears to shimmer, add the onion, red bell pepper and garlic and stir-fry the medley until the onion and red pepper are light brown around the edges, 7 to 10 minutes. Add half the spinach leaves and cover the pan. Wilt for 2 to 3 minutes. Add remaining leaves and wilt for another few minutes. Dust with freshly ground pepper and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and stir.

Drain potatoes and rinse again. Give the colander a good shake to rid the potatoes of excess water.

Spray a 13-inch-by-9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Pour in enough sauce to thinly coat the bottom. Place one third of the pasta sheets to cover the bottom. Spread half of the ricotta over the sheets. Arrange a layer of half the potatoes on the ricotta, followed by half of the vegetable medley. Pour and spread some of the remaining sauce, then sprinkle on one third of the cheese.

Place another third of the lasagna sheets on top and repeat the layering, using up all the ricotta, potatoes and vegetables, and half of the remaining sauce and cheese. Place the last of the sheets over this, followed by the remainder of the sauce.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place it on a cookie sheet in case the cheese and sauce spill a bit during baking. Bake the lasagna until the sides look bubbly and the center of the lasagna, when pierced with a knife, reveals a hot, cheesy, bubbly interior, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top and return the uncovered pan to the oven. Let the cheese melt, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from oven and cool for 15 minutes. Serves 8.

— From “Smashed, Mashed, Boiled and Baked — and Fried, Too!: A Celebration of Potatoes in 75 Irresistible Recipes” by Raghavan Iyer (Workman, $16.95)

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