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Friday, July 19, 2013

Random Food Fridays - Summer Ratatouille Lasagna

I am currently enjoying my first successful garden. It's great! In fact, I love my happy plants. Each piece of produce is just a bonus. I have healthy soil, healthy plants and gigantic shade trees. Those trees are great for our comfort and budget (no AC) but, they do block the energy of the Sun. My plants get about 6 hours of direct sun a day. They would do much better with 8 or more. Still, I'm getting lots of zucchini. In fact, enough that I am getting busy figuring it out how to use it all.

Eggplant: slice, brush both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil, 5 minutes per side. Same for the zucchini. This removed the excess moisture and adds flavor.

I was gifted with a gorgeous home-grown eggplant by one of my coworkers. With a pile of zucchini and a big eggplant, I thought, "Hmmm, gluten free lasagna..." I am not living gluten free, but my best friend, Miss Paula is. She has been out of town and missed this experiment, but I promised to make one for her when she returns. This experiment was very successful. Although, with these ingredients, it's hard to know how you could go wrong.

This could easily be a vegetarian lasagna. I made a red sauce with turkey Italian sausages, tomatoes and mushrooms. The middle layer is ricotta mixed with an egg, chopped fresh basil and parm.

 Red sauce on bottom, then the eggplant, more sauce, ricotta and grated cheese.

 Top with zucchini, the remaining sauce and grated cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for abut 20 minutes.

 Mine is a little over browned because I didn't hear the timer go off. Still delicious.

My dinner. So good!

Summer Ratatouille Lasagna
1 tbsp. olive oil, plus additional for brushing the vegetables
1 lb. turkey Italian sausage
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
2 large closed garlic, diced
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz. jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 pretty big eggplant
1 pretty big zucchini
1 15 oz. container ricotta
1 egg
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
8 oz. grated cheese (I used an Italian blend)

Preheat your oven's broiler on high. Wash, dry and slice the eggplant and zucchini, long ways, into 1/4 inch slices. Brush the veggies with olive oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper. I had to do the broiling in two steps - one pan of eggplant and one pan of zucchini. I broiled them for about 5 minutes on each side. Because this takes about 20 minutes, you can prepare the sauce while preparing the veggies.

For the sauce, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Remove the sausage from the casing and add to the hot pan. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms. Cook until the sausage is done. Drain excess liquid. Add the bottled sauce and diced tomatoes. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer while finishing the veggies and putting together the ricotta filling.

For the ricotta filling, in a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, chopped fresh basil, egg and 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine.

After the broiling is complete, set the oven for 400 degrees on the baking setting. 

To assemble, layer the following:

1.  x 13 inch pan, greased or sprayed
2. A small amount of sauce to cover the bottom of the pan
3. Layer the cooked eggplant slices
4. Spread with the ricotta mixture
5. Spoon over half of remaining sauce
6. Sprinkle with half the grated cheese
7. Layer the cooked zucchini slices
8. Spoon over remaining sauce
9. Sprinkle with remaining grated cheese 
10. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp. Parmesan

Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8. 

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