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Grilled Summer Vegetable Lasagna
- 2 pounds ripe garden tomatoes - or 1 - 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 red onion - thinly sliced
- 2 small zucchini or other squash - thinly sliced horizontally
- 12-15 mini colorful summer peppers - cleaned and sliced
- 1 small eggplant - thinly sliced into rounds
- 2 cups fresh spinach - quick blanched and chopped
- 1 large fresh mozzarella ball - thinly sliced
- 1 cup shredded mixed Italian cheese (parmesan, asiago, pecorino, fontina)
- 1 container whole milk ricotta
- 3 garlic - minced
- 1 egg
- 1 cup basil - chopped
- 1 package lasagna noodles - cooked according to package, drained and cooled
This recipe is great to make with left-over grilled vegetables or fun to make when your garden or the farmer’s market is bursting with summer vegetables and you’re in the mood for a fun easy Italian dish. It is a bit time consuming if you roast your own tomatoes to make the sauce, but you definitely don’t have to do that, although it will taste amazing. You can prepare this dish in stages and make it ahead to cook for a special occasion.
If you’re roasting the tomatoes, cut in half and place in a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss in some fresh herbs (oregano, basil, thyme or whatever you have) and some halved garlic cloves. Place in a 300 degree oven for 1 hour or so until they soften and start to shrivel. Remove from oven and let cool. Place in a bowl and remove the skins, mash together or blend with an immersion blender. Set aside.
Prepare vegetables, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill on a hot grill or in a grill pan. Place on a sheet pan and set aside until ready to use.
Prepare a large pot of water with salt for pasta. When boiling, blanch the spinach quickly (30 sec-1min) remove, rinse under cold water, squeeze excess water out and chop, set aside in a bowl. Cook pasta until al dente’ - rinse under cold water, drain well and set aside to cool on a sheet pan- making sure to separate noodles so they don’t stick, brush with olive oil if needed.
Mix the ricotta, garlic, one egg, and basil in with the spinach, add salt and freshly ground pepper. Slice the fresh mozzarella. Prepare other cheese if needed.
In a 12 inch cast iron skillet, spoon a thin layer of sauce on the bottom, add a layer of noodles (it is fine for the noodles to hang over the edge- they will get crispy), next a layer of eggplant, then a layer of ricotta and a sprinkling of cheese. Add more sauce, noodles, zucchini, ricotta, etc. There is no set layering method. Be creative and have fun with it. You will likely have some veggies and noodles left over. I like to finish with some sauce, a sprinkling of cheese and the cherry tomatoes. Do not cover, place in a preheated oven at 375 for 45 minutes or so until the top is golden brown and the noodles are crispy and the sauce is bubbling up. Remove from oven and let sit 15 minutes until serving, this is important so the juices set up.