A Little Lasagna?

When it comes to all-time hits, lasagna must be one of the world’s most highly rated labors of love.  So many ingredients, so many layers, which goes where?  Every family seems to have their own preferred version. You rarely see a little pan of lasagna. With so much shopping and preparation, popular wisdom says make enough for the masses: “Since we’re at it, we might as well invite the neighbors!”

Well, that’s not necessarily the case in my mighty tiny kitchen. By necessity my lasagna would be smaller. I also had in mind a purely vegetable based lasagna; one made with a marinara sauce of grill-roasted tomatoes and a modest heap of perfectly grilled zucchini and other vegetables like yellow squash, peppers, and onion for layering.

Zucchini Lasagna

Zucchini Lasagna

I was a little concerned about the final condition of the vegetables in the lasagna. I did not want bland or mushy—and overcooking could be a tall order. I believed this could be accomplished by searing the vegetables with only a brief sojourn on the grill: I’d spice it all up, give it a bit of smoke, sear it, and call it good.

Any marinara sauce will work, you will need at least 3 cups.  We are also going with super easy no boil noodles, which hold up very well for layering and later portioning.  Depending on the shape of your baking dish or pan, position the uncooked noodles to abutt one another. For a full layer of pasta, fit any remaining gaps with broken pieces of noodle.  In making the ricotta filling, combine a good quality ricotta, partial skim is fine, with an egg for binder, a little Parmesan cheese, a touch of garlic, salt and pepper.

A lot of these small tasks can be done over a couple of days if necessary, leaving assembly a simple task.  The final bake will take less than an hour.  Let it rest about 10 minutes before cutting.  If you’ve got it, serve a little more marinara sauce on the side and enjoy!

Grilled Zucchini Lasagna

3 cups marinara sauce
1 box Barilla No Boil Lasagna
3 grilled zucchini/squash, 1 onion, 2 poblano peppers
Ricotta filling
12 oz. ricotta
1 egg, beaten
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 cup mozzarella cheese grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions

  1. Spray an 8”x 8”, a 7”x 10” deep baking pan, or 2-1/2 qt. baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. For ricotta filling, combine ricotta through white pepper and set aside.
  3. To slice grilled vegetables, slice zucchini chunks into 1/2″ thick slices with the green outer skin showing on both edges. Slice the onion and peppers in 1/2″ wide long strips.
  4. Spread about 3/4 cup sauce across bottom of baking dish.
  5. Place a layer of flat noodles,if necessary breaking some to cover any open surface. They will swell.
  6. Evenly spread 1/2 of the ricotta over the noodles.
  7. Layer 1/2 of the vegetables and spread lightly with another 3/4 cup sauce.
  8. Repeat with another layer of noodles, ricotta, vegetables and sauce. Finish with a layer of pasta, the rest of the sauce, and top with mozzarella and then the Parmesan cheeses.
  9. To bake, cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake 15 minutes longer, until it is bubbly and begins to brown on top. Serves 4 or more.
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