Last week I was contemplating what to make for dinner and began listing the items in my fridge to myself, hoping for inspiration. Because of the early planting and kiss of mother nature this year I’ve had an abundance of tomatoes, basil and jalapeños. I had left over ricotta cheese from the galette I made the week before (Thank you Smitten Kitchen!) As well as some fresh mozzarella from a caprese salad, canned roasted tomatoes that have become a staple in my pantry and a gigantic foot long zucchini from my grandmother’s garden she had bestowed up on me the day before.
With these ingredients in hand I realized this was the making of a nice vegetarian lasagna. I had much debate over whether or not to buy some ground meat at the store (usually turkey sausage) when I went to get the lasagna noodles. I am not a vegetarian nor is my husband but I do have an affinity for purely veggie dishes, where I wasn’t sure if my husband would enjoy it with out the meat. However, in the end I through in my hat and opted for no meat.
I purchased two boxes of the whole wheat lasagna noodles, I find they have a firm nutty texture and a flavor that holds up well, especially when reheated the next night. As the lasagna noodles boiled I paper thinly sliced zucchini and mozzarella.
Then I blended three 14oz cans of roasted tomatoes and a can of water and added them to a small shallot I had diced and sautéed in olive oil. Towards the end of the sauce heating through I added a half cup of the Temparnillo we had decided on to go with dinner and a teaspoon of red pepper flakes for a slight spice.
For the filling I mixed a cup of ricotta with a cup of cottage cheese, a half cup of chopped basil, two diced jalapeños, two eggs and a tablespoon of paprika (I’m not sure why on the paprika but it just seemed right and ended up delicious).
Then when the noodles were al dente I began the layering: sauce, noodles, ricotta mixture, zucchini, and mozzarella. This continued for four layers of noodles and then topped off with sauce, mozzarella and shredded basil. I cooked it for 45 minutes at 375 and it was perfect. Cheesy, creamy, had a nice tart warm taste from the roasted tomatoes and finally a slight firmness in the zucchini, which I find the joy of the zucchini is how it absorbs and blends all the flavors together.
Oh and my husband said it was incredibly delicious, even when reheated the next night.