Friday, July 29, 2011

Summer Vegetable Lasagna

Spelt lasagna noodles and roasted tomatoes ready to go!

Wondering what to do with a bumper crop of zucchini and tomatoes? Try this improvised version of a classic favorite. I am using whole spelt noodles (from VitaSpelt) to keep it really healthy and nutritious. Thinly slice the veggies you have, broil them, and layer them with the cooked pasta and whole cheese from pastured cows.  Rather than sticking to just my suggestions, use any summer vegetables that tempt you--  artichokes, spinach, chard (the leafy stuff you can saute, not roast, of course), carrots, parsnips, onions, whatever is in season and abundant near you will go just fine.

Instead of a heavy, slow-cooked tomato sauce,  roasted Roma tomatoes will keep this lasagna summery and fresh. For cheese, a classic combo of ricotta and mozzarella is always welcome, but don't be afraid of substituting chevre in the middle or provolone on top. Maybe there is fresh farmer cheese at the greenmarket. Maybe there is something else that strikes your fancy--sun-dried tomatoes, olives, or roasted peppers? Follow this basic formula, whichever you choose. Serve it with some simply dressed greens

Try using a few varieties of summer squash
Summer Vegetable Lasagna

3-3 1/2 lb Roma tomatoes
4 T+   extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp garlic, minced
sea and freshly ground black pepper
1 pkg spelt lasagna noodles
2 lb assorted zucchini and summer squash
10-15 leaves fresh basil, washed
1 15 oz container pasture-raised ricotta
3 cups shredded provolone cheese

Preheat oven to broil. Put a big pot of lightly salted water on the stove to boil. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil to prevent a nasty clean-up.

Slice the tomatoes into 1/3" thick slices and transfer them to the lined sheet pan. Add a tsp of the minced garlic and about 2 Tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and gently rub tomatoes with seasonings with clean hands until evenly distributed. Place under the broiler for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned.

Transfer tomatoes to a mixing bowl. Thinly slice summer squash the long way (1/4"-1/3" thick slices?).  Transfer to the pan that the tomatoes were in and season with the remaining oil and garlic, as well as sea salt and pepper. Broil these for 15-20 minutes, or until tender.  Let cool and switch oven to 350 F.

Cook pasta according to directions. While pasta cooks, prepare a 9"x13" lasagna pan. Lightly oil with extra-virgin olive oil.

Layer lasagna in baking dish beginning with a layer of tomatoes and basil leaves, then pasta, then summer squash, pasta, ricotta. Repeat pasta and veggies. Be sure to layer the tomatoes on thick in the middle, so lasagna is saucy and fresh at the same time.  Discard excess tomato juice in bowl (or use it in minestrone) Finish with some tomatoes, then top with shredded provolone.

Bake covered at 350 for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for 10-15 minutes more.
Let rest 5 minutes and serve.

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