Even though the ideal method of cooking, at least in my mind, is to barbecue all summer, I suppose it’s OK to have other options! There’s no pasta in this tasty “lasagne” just long “lasagne” like strips of zucchini. Of course it’s best made with in season zucchini, especially if you can find the Italian ridged ones called Romanesco! The “lasagne” could be served with pesto risotto alongside, or in the Italian manner, make the risotto for the first course followed by the “lasagne”. Or why not even a small first course of tagliatelle with pesto just in case you’re craving noodles! Or to make it really simple, just a loaf of good country bread would do the trick!
Makes 6 Servings
1 Tbsp. EVOO
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried basil, crumbled or 1 ½ Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano, crumbled
1 tsp. fennel seeds
½ lb. lean ground beef
½ cup dry white wine
1 28 oz. tin Italian plum tomatoes, chopped, juices reserved
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
6 large zucchini, each sliced lengthwise into 5 slices
8 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Tip: On occasion I’ve mixed in ½ an Italian sausage when sautéing the beef, a nice addition, but not necessary.
Note about Sauce: I have found that it’s a good idea to double the sauce, as you will most likely need a bit more than the recipe makes. Good news is there’s leftover sauce for another meal, perhaps pasta?
Heat the oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender, adding a bit of water if the onion sticks, about 3 – 5 minutes. Add the garlic, basil, oregano and fennel and sauté 1 minute. If using fresh herbs, add them to the sauce 5 minutes before the sauce is finished cooking. Add ground beef & Italian sausage if using, cook until brown, crumbling with a fork until no longer pink. Add wine and bring to a boil. Add tomatoes and their juices and the tomato paste. Simmer until sauce is reduced to 3 cups, stirring occasionally, about 1 ½ hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The sauce can be prepared a day before and stored in the fridge.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 Tbsp. salt. Add the zucchini and cook just until tender, about 2 minutes. Remove zucchini to a colander and drain. Rinse under cold water. Transfer zucchini to paper towels and drain well.
Note: I’ve changed up this method and cooked the zucchini as I would eggplant slices by brushing with a little EVO and broiling for a couple of minutes to soften somewhat.
Assemble the Lasagne:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Spread 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9×13” glass baking pan that has been oiled or sprayed with cooking spray. Place half the zucchini slices in the bottom of the pan, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. cheese; season with salt and pepper. Repeat layering, using 1 cup of sauce, remaining zucchini slices and 2 Tbsp. cheese. Top with the remaining 1 cup of sauce. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and place in the oven. Bake until top bubbles and is golden brown, about 30 minutes.