A zucchini-packed lasagna full of all the things good and right in the world right now!
- 2 - 3 medium/large zucchini (about 6 cups when cut)
- olive oil, for sauteing
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 -inch thin strips
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic
- salt and pepper
- 4 cups fresh baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed
- butter, for greasing the pan
- 16 ounces fresh or no-boil lasagna noodles
- 1 jar (24 ounce) good tomato sauce (like Newman's Bombolina Sauce) or 3 cups homemade
- 24 ounces farmer's cheese or ricotta
- 16 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Wash and dry the zucchini. Leave the peel on, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds then cut into ¾-inch wide slices.You need 6 - 7 cups.
- In a large frying pan heat a tablespoon olive oil over medium-low heat. Cook the peppers, onions and garlic, seasoned with salt and pepper until softened about 10 minutes. Remove to a small bowl.
- Turn the heat up to medium and add 2 more tablespoons of oil to the pan. Add the zucchini and cook stirring often until the zucchini starts to soften around the edges with some golden spots. Keep the heat up on them, like a stir-fry, this will keep the water from draining out of them. You don't want them completely mushy but a little al dente, they should still hold their shape. It should take about 10 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low and sprinkle the flour over the zucchini, toss and cook 2 more minutes, stirring often. Mix in the cooked pepper and onions and the baby spinach. As soon as the spinach is wilted, remove from the heat. Mix in the 2 tablespoons of Parmesan, the basil, thyme leaves, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Butter a 9x13 inch lasagna pan or casserole with deep sides. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Spread a thin layer of sauce over the bottom then cover with lasagna noodles, breaking them to fit if needed.
- Spread ⅓ of the veggies evenly over the noodles and top with ½ cup of sauce.
- Top with another layer of noodles. Evenly spread out ½ the farmer's cheese, ⅓ of the mozzarella and top with ½ cup sauce.
- Top that layer with noodles. Top with another ⅓ of the veggies and ½ cup sauce.
- Cover with another layer of noodles. Evenly spread out the remaining farmer's cheese, another ⅓ of the mozzarella and ½ cup sauce.
- Top with more noodles, the remaining veggies, ½ cup sauce and the remaining mozzarella.
- Cover with aluminum foil. Bake 4o minutes.
- Remove aluminum foil and bake 20 - 25 more minutes.
- Let set 5 - 10 minutes then slice into squares and serve with Parmesan. (Goes perfectly with a leafy salad and crusty bread.)
That means fresh produce from the Farmer’s market including zucchini, red peppers, baby spinach, onions and garlic surrounded by layers of fresh lasagna noodles, tomato sauce, stringy mozzarella cheese and my new favorite find, Farmer’s cheese.
Farmer’s cheese is similar to ricotta, it’s mild in flavor, creamy and a little crumbly.
It’s a cross between ricotta, cottage cheese, and cream cheese. You can find it in the specialty cheese section.
If you can’t find it or don’t like it use ricotta cheese instead.
I’ve had more than my share of soggy, watery zucchini lasagna/casseroles before but by combining a bunch of little tricks I’ve learned along the way I prevented that from happening this time.
I stir-fried the zucchini in a fairly hot pan to al dente (soft but still firm) and then sprinkled a little flour over them to soak up and thicken any water that may escape during baking.
Leaving the peel on also helps, a lot, so pick zucchini with beautiful, unblemished skin and cut it thick and chunky, not too thin.
This is one of the best lasagnas I ever made. I hope you like it too!