Sunday, August 8, 2010
Oh man is right. I'm such a genius I swear. This was so good. I'm making another one right now, and I'll probably take it to work tomorrow. Lucky co-workers!!! I usually make my own marinara, because I am crazy like that. If you want to make this with a jarred disgusting marinara sauce, that is fine by me. It's your life, man.
This recipe is really really healthy and delish, and is a great way to get your kids to eat their veggies. The fresh basil, squash and roasted cherry tomatoes really make this a summer favorite.
Makes: one big ass lasagna
3-4 squashes, depending on what kind of squash you have available, I would probably play it safe and go with zucchini squash, as large as you can find them. If they are kind of small I would get 6 or 7 of them.
1 16 oz container of ricotta cheese
1 16 oz package of shredded mozzarella
6 0z grated parmesan cheese
1 16 oz container fresh mozzarella (ovoline size-lrg balls hahaha)
1 bunch fresh basil
3 quarts cherry or sungold tomatoes
3 cloves garlic-chopped
2 carrots-small dice
1 yellow onion-small dice
3 celery stalks-small dice
1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 tsp dry oregano-divided
1 tsp dry thyme-divided
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
You will need one roughly 9 by 12 pyrex lasagna pan.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut your squash into thin, lengthwise strips. This is going to be your "pasta" so try to cut it just a little bit thicker than pasta sheets, it makes it easier to eat and cooks more evenly.
Lay them out on a sheet pan and sprinkle salt over them to sweat out water. Why do you want to do such a thing? Well, to keep it from drowning in it's own juices, that's why. I told you to trust me. I'm like the Rambo of veggie cooking, I'm fearless but sensitive.
Wipe that sweat up in about 10 - 15 minutes with a paper towel.
Start making the sauce dude. Put the can of tomatoes, the washed sungold tomatoes, a half an onion, half the bunch of basil, 1/2 tsp dry oregano, 1/2 tsp dry thyme, chopped garlic, 3 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper and 1 tbsp sugar into a pot or pan and bake for 20 minutes until sungold tomatoes are browned and burst open. Once the sauce is done use a blender or food processor to blend sauce. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce is too thin, heat over medium flame for 15 minutes or reduced by a third.
Dice your mirepoix (this is onion, carrot and celery with a ratio of 2:1:1. Meaning-50% (half and onion) 25% celery, and 25% carrot. Roughly two of each. Dice and sautee them together for about 5-6 minutes, until softened but not brown. Add some of the cooking marinara, about a large sauce spoon full and let it reduce and caramelize the mirepoix for another 5-6 minutes.
While sauce is cooking, mix ricotta cheese with 2 oz of grated parmesan, dry thyme and oregano, and eggs and mix well. Set aside.
When the sauce is done, you can start making your lasagna. Just let the sauce cool for a little while so it doesn't start cooking the squash and cheese all of a sudden.
Slice the ovoline fresh mozzarella, and chop the basil. Mix basil into the ricotta mixture.
Spray Pam or something like that (olive oil on a paper towel etc) generously on your lasagna pan.
First lay down the sauce. Just enough to coat the bottom. Then start laying the squash down next to eachother evenly like you would with pasta. The next part is where I tell you the secret to a good lasagna.
Ok, here's the secret:
If you want a really nicely put together, evenly cooked, melty gooey dream pillow of cheese, veg and sauce, then the secret is all in the layers.
It goes like this
3) Ricotta mixture
4) sauteed veggies
5) Thin layer of fresh mozz
6)Thin layer of grated mozz
Repeat for 2 more layers. After you finish the 3rd one, lay down one more layer of zucchini "pasta", then sauce, then a good amount of dry mozz and the other 4 oz of grated parmesan.
Stick that puppie in the oven at 400 degrees until it's bubbling and brown and looks kinda like this: