Vegetarian Lasagne With Summer Squash and Eggplant
After experimenting in Dr. Frazierstein's kitchen laboratory, "Summer Squash and Eggplant Lasagne" came to life. I don't know if I should really call it lasagne since it contains no noodles. However, since the definition of lasagne uses both "noodle" and "dish," I'm going to leave it as is. The prep time is between 20 & 30 minutes. It really depends on how fast you can slice and dice.
- 1-1/2 pounds eggplant,, sliced lengthwise (about 1/4" thick)
- 4 small to medium summer squash, (zucchini and/or yellow-about 2 lbs. total, sliced lengthwise (about 1/8-1/4" thick)
- 1 medium onion, sliced into1/8-14" rings or half rings,
- 1 medium green bell pepper, sliced into 1/8-1/4" strips
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1/2 cup carrot, shredded
- 1/4 cup celery, shredded
- 1 14-15 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 6 ounces tomato sauce
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil, (extra virgin olive oil, vegetable oil, canola oil or corn oil)
- Cooking spray, as needed
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- Salt & pepper, to your taste
- Assemble all ingredients, kitchen tools & equipment. (Recommended: Lasagne dish with lid (or equivalent), 10-12" skillet (2-2 1/2" deep) and/or griddle, mixing bowl, spatula, serving spoon, cutting board, chef's knife, whisk, sheet pan or plates (to hold and drain eggplant and squash, paper towels, grater.) Wash and prepare vegetables.
- Heat griddle (medium heat), spray lightly with cooking spray. Sear slices of eggplant & squash until lightly browned (1-2 minutes per side), season with salt & pepper. Place on sheet pan lined with paper towels to absorb moisture. Set aside.
- Heat skillet (medium heat) and add oil. Add onions and bell peppers, saute for 5 minutes. Add carrot and celery. Saute for another 5 minutes. Add garlic, saute 1-2 minutes. Vegetables should be soft but not mushy.
- Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir to incorporate. Add herbs plus salt and pepper to your taste. Simmer about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While sauce is cooking, prepare the ricotta cheese. Place it in the mixing bowl and add slightly beaten eggs. Whisk until egg & cheese are incorporated.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat lasagne pan with cooking spray. Cover the bottom with a thin layer of sauce. Make a layer of eggplant--overlapping pieces if needed, in order to make a solid layer. Make a layer with half of the ricotta mixture. Make a layer of squash, overlapping if needed. Add a layer of sauce, then a layer of mozzarella. Make 5 more layers: eggplant, ricotta, squash, sauce & mozzarella.
- Cover & place in oven for 45 minutes (remove cover for the last 15 minutes of baking time.)
- Enjoy your Summer Squash & Eggplant Lasagne!
Squash and eggplant both contain a lot of moisture. It's important to sear them ahead of time and allow them to drain on paper towels to absorb some of that moisture. Don't skip this step! You're still going to have a lot of moisture because the squash and eggplant will generate more during the baking phase. It will be greatly reduced by searing and draining before assembling the lasagne.