Mix up dinner with Rebecca’s vegetable lasagna
Lasagna is an easy dish that should be packed with your favorite ingredients — check out your local farmer’s markets and see what veggies they have.
I’ve found it to work well with zucchini, squash, eggplant, carrots, brussel sprouts, sweet onions and even beets. Of course, it also works well with ground beef, turkey, chicken, lobster and shrimp.
The secret here is to roast the veggies beforehand so they have texture and release some of their juices, otherwise they’ll make the lasagna a bit soggy. If you like this idea of texture on your veggies, you could sprinkle them with a pinch of sugar or finely grated parmesan cheese during the last five minutes of the roasting process. (Just stay right there by the oven if you do that, to avoid burning.)
And if you want to make this dish even more tasty, instead of having the top layer be the lasagna pasta covered in cheese, switch it out for fresh cubed bread covered in cheese.
That’s right: Pasta, bread and cheese to- gether. Can you think of a better combo? Simple Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
Makes 6 hearty servings 8 large zucchinis, ends removed and cubed into bite size pieces
2 tablespoon 100% olive oil (you’ll want this to be a quality brand) 1/2 lb. lasagna noodles 1 tablespoon of salt for the pasta water 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (you may want more if you like it creamy, but don’t get carried away)
5 heaping cups shredded mozzarella cheese (you honestly might need more depending how much you like cheese); leave 3/4 cup for the topping
1 carrot, washed, end removed and cut into 1-inch matchsticks (you can put in more if you like carrots) 4 ounces store-bought pesto 1. Place the oven rack on the middle shelf of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees for at least 20 minutes. Place the zucchini on a sheet pan and drizzle it with the olive oil. Bake until tender, or about 20 minutes. You will have to mix up the zucchini about halfway through to ensure all the sides are cooking evenly. Remove it from the oven when it is done and let it rest.
2. When the zucchini is halfway done roasting, fill a large pasta pot with cold water (about half-full) and place it over high heat. When the water comes to a boil, add the la- sagna noodles, pushing it under the water as it softens. Stir the pasta to ensure it does not stick, and follow the packaging instructions for cooking time. The instructions should suggest about 10 minutes boiling time. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it well and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, combine the ricotta and mozzarella cheese in a large bowl and stir until well-blended and a paste is formed. (Don’t forget to leave some shredded cheese for the top.)
4. When the ingredients are done, begin assembly. Start with a 9-inch casserole dish. Arrange the ingredients in the following order: olive oil drizzled on the bottom of the pan, lasagna pasta, zucchini, carrot matchsticks and ricotta mixture. The top layer should be pasta and a heavy sprinkling of mozzarella cheese.
5. Bake the lasagna for 20 minutes. During the cooking process, if the top begins to brown too much, cover it with foil to avoid any burning. Remove the lasagna from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes before serving. It’s going to be messy coming out, just do your best.
6. While it is cooling, prepare the pesto by mixing it with a few tablespoons of good olive oil to dilute it. Drizzle over the plated dish.
Cooking at Home is a weekly column that alternates between Rebecca Bent and Chad Stringfellow. They dish on what they’ve been making.
Bent says: “This photo was taken in the restaurant La Zucca in Venice, Italy. I’ve written about them before — I just love them.”