Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Who In Their Right Mind Craves Lasagna In the Middle of July?

So begins the season of summer squash, and this year I'm devoted to trying to doing more with it than the run-of-the-mill zucchini bread. (Though I am trying to find a new recipe for zucc bread, if you come across one...)

In the meantime, I made Vegetable Lasagna from the Cook's Illustrated Light Cookbook, and it was divine. I recommend, though, carving out a lot of time to focus on this recipe. You begin it by making your own sauce (make a double batch!). It's time consuming and worth it, especially if you're trying to use up some of those endlessly harvested summer crops.

Postscript confession: I used Canal Junction's Gruyere cheese with a bit of mozz, but I did use a "light" ricotta and cottage cheeses. The WW exchange points are a 7, if you stick strictly to the recipe. I gauged my revisions would be 10 points.

Another consideration: Only make this if you have A/C; otherwise, the kitchen could get a little hot.

I promise "cool" recipes for summer squash in the near future.

Serves 6 to 8. Published September 1, 1997.

Smoked mozzarella, Gruyère, or Fontina can be substituted for the mozzarella and Pecorino Romano for the Parmesan. Also, three and one-half cups of your favorite prepared tomato sauce can be substituted for the sauce in this recipe. Because no-boil noodles come twelve to sixteen in a box, we suggest buying two boxes to ensure that you'll have the fifteen required for this lasagne.


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic , minced

petite diced tomato
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or parsley leaves
15 no-boil lasagna noodles (dried, 7-by-3 1/2-inch)
3 cups vegetables , cooked and seasoned (see below)
1 pound mozzarella cheese , shredded (about 4 cups)
5 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 2/3 cup)

Vegetable cooking spray for foil
Vegetables: Toss with enough olive oil to coat them lightly before roasting or sauté them in a few tablespoons of olive oil.

asparagus spears - trim tough ends, slice in half lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces; blanch until crisp-tender, drain well, and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes

broccoli or cauliflower - cut into florets, blanch until crisp-tender, drain, chop into 1/4-inch pieces and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes

eggplant - cut into 1/2-inch dice, roast until tender, about 35 minutes at 400 degrees

fennel - cut bulb into very thin strips; sauté until tender, about 15 minutes, or roast until tender, about 30 minutes at 400 degrees

mushrooms - trim and slice or dice; sauté until golden, about 5 -7 minutes, or roast until tender, about 20 minutes at 400 degrees

onions - peel and cut into thin slices; sauté until soft and golden, 5 -7 minutes, or roast until soft and golden, about 20 minutes at 400 degrees

spinach or Swiss chard - wash, stem and chop; sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes

zucchini - cut into 1/2-inch dice; sauté until tender, about 7 minutes, or roast until tender, about 35 minutes at 400 degrees
Vegetable Seasonings

minced garlic (optional)

minced fresh herbs (optional)

red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. 1. Heat oil and garlic in 10-inch skillet over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes; simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Stir in basil or parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Pour into large measuring cup. Add enough water to make 3 1/2 cups.

  2. 2. Spread 1/2 cup sauce evenly over bottom of greased 13-by-9-inch lasagne pan. Lay three noodles crosswise over sauce, making sure they do not touch each other or sides of pan. Spread 3/4 cup prepared vegetables evenly over noodles, 1/2 cup sauce evenly over vegetables, and 3/4 cup mozzarella and 2 generous tablespoons Parmesan evenly over sauce. Repeat layering of noodles, vegetables, sauce, and cheeses three more times. For fifth and final layer, lay final three noodles crosswise over previous layer and top with with remaining 1 cup tomato sauce, 1 cup mozzarella, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan. (Can be wrapped with plastic and aluminum foil and frozen for up to 1 month. If frozen, defrost in refrigerator).

  3. 3. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Cover pan with large sheet foil greased with cooking spray. Bake 25 minutes (30 minutes if chilled); remove foil and continue baking until top turns golden brown in spots, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and let lasagne rest 5 minutes. Cut and serve immediately.

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