Pesto & Roasted Zucchini Lasagna

Our garden is producing on overload right now. Zucchini–from one plant only!–cranks out new vegetables almost daily. I tucked basil all over the garden in pots and between other plants in the raised beds, and those fragrant leaves are heavily sprouting. And from the mega tomato plants far surpassing their stakes, I’ve begun to harvest fresh tomatoes.

I LOVE having all this produce to play with.

After mixing up an incredibly delicious basil pesto and making my own rich ricotta (both of which I need to post about as soon as I mix up more batches), I had a vision for a lasagna creation. Rather than mix my usual spices into the ricotta, why not mix in the pesto? What a delicious decision that turned out to be!

I knew I wanted to use some of the abundant zucchini in this lasagna just to use it up. That’s what I did last year, too. Only this year I decided to roast the zucchini rather than sprinkle it with salt to pull out the moisture before layering it into the pasta. Roasting added a new level of flavor to the dish.

Then I remembered the fresh tomato sauce I discovered last year. It is light and delightful and so summer garden-y. Its lightness made for a perfect accompaniment to this summer harvest lasagna, allowing all the other flavors to shine through rather than get buried under a heavy tomato sauce.

For me, the most fun part of this particular lasagna was that most of it was homemade. I made the ricotta, the mozzarella, the pesto, and the tomato sauce. Yes, they all took some time. You can easily buy all of these premade, but nothing beats the taste of homemade. If I hadn’t grown so tired from my marathon in the kitchen that day, I would have made my own pasta, too. Next time…

Pesto & Roasted Zucchini Lasagna

Printer-Friendly Version

INGREDIENTS

  • 8-ounce package of lasagna noodles
  • two medium zucchini
  • olive oil
  • 15-ounce container of ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • one egg
  • 16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (better yet, use the soft ball of mozzarella from a deli, cut into slices)
  • fresh tomato sauce (I used 1 1/2 batches of the homemade recipe posted below, which I highly recommend, but you can use a large jar of store bought)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cover a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with oil.
  2. Prepare lasagna noodles according to package directions.
  3. Slice zucchini in rounds or long slices to whatever thickness your prefer (I sliced mine about a 1/4-inch thick). Place on foil-covered baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 10-20 minutes, depending on how crunchy or soft you prefer the roasted zucchini.
  4. Prepare lasagna noodles according to package directions.
  5. In a large bowl, mix ricotta, pesto, and egg.
  6. Assemble the lasagna by placing a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan (I used a 9×6 foil pan). Then create layers of noodle, ricotta/pesto mixture, roasted zucchini, tomato sauce, and mozzarella.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-30 minutes, until cheese melts and lasagna is heated throughout. If desired, place under broiler for the last couple of minutes to make top layer of cheese toasty and crunchy.

SOURCE: my own creation : )

Garden Fresh Tomato  Sauce

Printer-Friendly Version

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs. ripe beefsteak tomatoes (about 4 large), cored, peeled, and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. To prepare tomatoes, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. In the meantime, fill a large bowl with some ice and water. Then, cut out the cores of the tomatoes, followed by slicing an X into the bottom of each. Immerse the tomatoes in the boiling water for about 2 minutes, until the skins begin to loosen. Remove tomatoes and place in the cold water until cool enough to handle. Now you can easily peel off the skin. Cut into 3/4-inch chunks and set aside until ready to place in skillet.
  2. Stir olive oil and garlic together in a large skillet. Turn heat to medium and cook until garlic is sizzling and fragrant, about 2 minutes. (Starting the oil and garlic in the pan at the same time prevents the garlic from burning.)
  3. Stir in tomatoes and 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a rapid simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, reducing heat if sauce begins to stick to bottom of pan, until thickened and chunky, 15-20 minutes. (I used a potato masher to smush my tomatoes a bit. Totally optional.)
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. If your tomatoes aren’t as sweet as you’d like, add a pinch of sugar to the sauce.

Yield: 2 cups–enough for 1 lb. of pasta

Notes:

Sauce can be frozen. Cool it completely, first. Transfer to a 2-cup freezer-safe container. Press a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the sauce, cover, and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the microwave or in the refrigerator overnight.

If you double the recipe, increase the cooking time to about 30 minutes.

SOURCE: cookscountry.com

About these ads

4 thoughts on “Pesto & Roasted Zucchini Lasagna

  1. Pingback: Zucchini Recipe Roundup | Scrumptious and Sumptuous

  2. Pingback: Homemade Ricotta | Scrumptious and Sumptuous

I love hearing your comments, so please share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s