Sunday, September 13, 2009

Zucchini Lasagna

So, you've turned out a major zucchini crop this year and are drowning in it. What to do? Zucchini Lasagna!! You don't even have to like zucchini to like this one, folks!

I altered this recipe from a blog--the blogger's mother was from Italy. I've made it a few times and tried to record how I altered it...and now it's been so long I can't decipher my notes. So I'll include the original recipe below and add my notes in blue. The pictures are mine.

Angela's Zucchini Lasagna
3 pounds large zucchini, scrubbed. I don't know how many pounds I used, I just used one honking huge one from my sister's garden.
1 quart spaghetti sauce or thick tomato sauce. I got into the habit a long time ago of making my own tomato sauce, I've included a sort of recipe below. I really, really dislike canned tomato sauce, almost all of it has too much sugar and just tastes weird.
1 cup bread crumbs *
1 pound ricotta cheese (or more, if you like - the original recipe calls for 2 pounds) I actually used half cottage cheese, some provolone slices that weren't going to last much longer and a little shredded mozzarella and blended them all together.

4 eggs, lightly beaten I've got a wonky note here, seems I used more and less a few times. I think less was a mistake, but I'm not positive.
2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon each dried oregano, basil. I upped this to a full teaspoon each. I think it made a HUGE difference.
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. I only used half a cup of Parmesan, the powdery kind in a can.
1 pound mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated

Slice zucchini into long slices.

Cook in boiling water just until limp, about 5 minutes. I remember mine taking a little longer. Drain on paper towels.

Combine ricotta, eggs, parsley, seasoning and half of the parmesan cheese and half of the bread crumbs in a bowl. Set aside.

In a 9x13 pan, spoon a thin layer of tomato sauce. Sprinkle with a quarter of the bread crumbs. Arrange layer of zucchini over this.
Spoon half of the reserved ricotta mixture on top of the zucchini. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella cheese. Arrange the rest of the zucchini over this, layer more tomato sauce and the rest of the bread crumbs and top with remaining ricotta mixture. Top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan. I actually did a few layers of zucchini, cheese mixture, and sauce instead of just two. It tasted more lasagna-y.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1 hour or until top is brown. Let stand 20 minutes before cutting.

* When using bread crumbs, try making your own. Take any kind of bread you like, even leftover stale bread that you may want to throw away, and place in your food processor and grind until fine. Keep in a plastic container in the fridge and they will last a long time. Fresh bread crumbs are superior to what you can buy in the grocery store.
I totally support this one. I used some old wheat hamburger buns and threw them in the blender. Easy Peasy and yummy!

Here's my tomato sauce "recipe" for this lasagna, it turned out really well!

12 oz tomato paste
2/3 cup onions
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1T Parsley
1/3 c fresh basil (I had this on hand from my sis)
2 t oregano
2 cloves garlic
1 T brown sugar
splash of balsamic vinegrette
1 1/2- 2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste.

This meal was/is the hubby's absolute favorite, he raved and raved about it (and he doesn't even like zucchini!) The first time I made it, I didn't skimp on the cheese (and didn't write anything down) and it was the best. The second time it was still good, but skimpy cheese, sauce, and eggs. The third time was a gift, so I don't know how it turned out. Good luck!

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