Saturday, August 18, 2007

Summer Harvest

Seriously, it has gone past the point of rescue. We have so much summer produce it isn't even funny. And I have forbidden myself to let a bit of it go to waste. I have 6 quarts of stewed tomatoes in the freezer for winter chili and tailgating. I've frozen pesto and an assortment of fresh fruit.

We're so fortunate to live near the City Market, which is a feast of fruits and veggies; and just last weekend my parents brought a ton of tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers and green beans from their garden. At one point, we had at least 30 tomatoes in our possession. I didn't know what to do, my only thought was Vegetable Lasagna. Now, my husband (and father) are both meat and potatoes men, so I was concerned that this plan would leave them wanting more. I couldn't have been more wrong. In fact, as my mother and I were navigating the recipe and making our own changes, we realized we had a winner on our dinner for four, quickly spread and we invited our friends over to enjoy as well. Everyone loved it and I think you will too...if anyone is actually reading this!

Recipe note -- this would also be good with mushrooms, we just didn't have any. Saute the shrooms after the peppers and onions and set aside until time for layering. Also, while it takes forever, please do not skip the step of frying the eggplant and zucchini. Two things I do not believe in -- no cook lasagne noodles and mushy eggplant.
This would easily serve 10 with a fresh green salad and bread. The leftovers rock.
Vegetable Garden Lasagna
Adapted (very loosely) from "The New Basics Cookbook" by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins
1 eggplant
1 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
1 zucchini
8 tablespoons olive oil
2 bell peppers (any color combination, I used 2 orange), cored, seeded and cut into Julienne
1 large onion, slivered
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
8 ounces lasagna noodles
3 cups tomato sauce (I used it from a jar, if I'd had more time, I would have the basic tomato sauce recipe from Smitten Kitchen and used my tomatoes)
12 ounces ricotta
1 cup tightly packed fresh spinach slivered
1/2 cup slivered fresh basil leaves
1 cup grated Parmesan
3/4 lb thinly slice provolone
Slice the eggplant into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Sprinkle them with coarse salt, and let drain in a colander for 1 hour. Wipe off the salt and pat dry.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the bell peppers and onion, and saute over medium-low heat until cooked through, but not browned, 10 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the peppers and onion from the skillet.

Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Add 3 more tablespoons olive oil. Dredge the zucchini with the flour, shaking off the excess, and saute the slices on both sides, over medium heat, until lightly browned, adding more olive oil as needed. Transfer the cooked zucchini to paper towels. Repeat this process with the eggplant.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, spinach and basil until smooth.

Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the lasagna, and cook at a rolling boil until just tender. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again.

Spread a small amount of tomato sauce on the bottom of a deep 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

Arrange half the lasagna noodles over the sauce. Cover with the peppers, onion, eggplant and zucchini, in layers. Spread with half of the ricotta mixture. Top with more tomato sauce, and then another layer of lasagna noodles. Spread the remaining vegetables, then ricotta, top with remaining tomato sauce. Spread the provolone slices overlapping to cover the entire pan. *I used about 3 slices per row, but use to suit your taste. Shredded mozzarella would also work.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until brown and bubbly, another 15 minutes. *I actually didn't cover with aluminum foil and it was fine, if your use mozzarella, you'll definitely want to.

1 comment:

Irate Filipino said...

I find your blog site interesting. I movedd to Kansas City in 1998 and have been to City Market area for concerts and drinks only. I never realized there is so much more to it. I will be sure to explore more of it after reviewing your site.