I just whipped this up for dinner yesterday. We planted too many zucchini plants this year (those things can get out of control pretty fast!) and since we’re moving we’re trying to use them up. But you can only eat so much corn breaded fried zucchini or zucchini parmesan before you explode, so I made up something a little healthier to do with it. This is kind of my take on lasagna Florentine, and its a great make-ahead meal. Here’s what you need:
- 3 medium to large zucchini
- 1 8 oz tub whole milk ricotta cheese
- 8 oz crumbled italian sausage or sliced pepperoni
- 1 12 oz can pasta sauce
- 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp garlic
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 egg
1Cut the top and bottom off the zucchini so they stand up vertically straight. Cut a bit of skin from one side, and then start slicing straight up and down to make long, thin slices down the zucchini, creating flat pieces that will serve as your lasagna “noodles”. Lay the zucchini in a bowl in layers and sprinkle salt over each layer. Put the bowl in the fridge overnight to let some of the water come out. You can also just put it in the dish as normal, make it a day ahead, and then drain the water off before cooking, it’s up to you.
2Preheat the oven to 375. In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg, ricotta, Parmesan, seasonings, (minus the two tsp of salt for the zucchini) and half of the mozzarella and mix well.Take the zucchini and lay down enough to coat a deep rectangular baking pan 15 by 10 inches. Top with half of your cheese mixture. Add another layer of zucchini and press down flat. Sprinkle over half of your sausage in small crumbles, half of your onion, and half of your pasta sauce. Add another layer of zucchini, and press down firmly. Another layer of your cheese mixture should follow, then one last layer of zucchini. Add the rest of the sausage, onion and pasta sauce, but don’t add the mozzarella yet!
3Wrap the lasagna firmly in aluminum foil and put it in your 375 degree oven. Bake for 30 minutes and then remove from the oven. Take the foil off and sprinkle over the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake the lasagna for an addition 20 minutes or so, just until the cheese starts to get brown as with the cheese on a pizza. Remove the lasagna and turn off your oven, you’re almost done!
A trick with lasagna is to let it cool down a bit before cutting it. Hot food is less stable than warm food, so if you cut into it while it’s piping hot it’s more likely to fall over.
This makes about 8 portions, but be ware -for healthy food this will go pretty quick, so make plenty.
If you want to get inventive, you can add some fun stuff to the cheese mixture like chopped sun dried tomatoes or chopped fresh spinach!