Traditional lasagna is not something you’ll be seeing recipes for on this blog. But the lasagna framework is a fun one for trying new things. This recipe is not so new to me. I’ve been making it for years. A couple of months ago I opened by blog to get the recipe (for me, this blog is where I store all my favorite recipes) and I was shocked to find that I had never posted this one. So it’s time to rectify that error.
I cannot say that this recipe is a quick fix dish – it has a few steps and does require time and effort. but the result is just spectacular. The roasted vegetables lighten up the dish and make it a great summer pasta main course, great for vegetarians. Don’t be shy with the vegetables – use your favorite antipasti veggies – the more the merrier.
2 tablespoons oil
4 large red peppers cut into quarters (I slice the cheeks off the core of the pepper to avoid using the white bits)
1 medium sized eggplant peeled cubed into 2 cm pieces
1 large onion peeled and cut into 8 segments (cut the onion in half then with the round side down, slice from the middle outwards at an angle so you get 4 crescents from each half)
3 medium sized zucchinis cubed into 2 cm pieces
6-7 large mushrooms washed and stemmed cubed into 2 cm pieces or 2 cups of small fresh mushrooms washed,stemmed and quartered
1 whole head of garlic (remove the loose papery skins on the outside by hand but leave the inner layers on)
(Make sure you have enough cubed vegetables to amply fill a large (European) oven baking tray – about 10 cups full)
1 batch basic tomato sauce without the onion
18-20 lasagna noodles (the ones that don’t require pre-cooking – I use Barilla)
250 g (12 oz) ricotta cheese
Salt and ground black pepper
400 g (14 oz) grated mozzarella cheese
100 g (3.5 oz) grated Parmesan cheese
How to do it
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F)
2. On an oven tray lined with baking paper, sprinkle the olive oil and place all the cut vegetables in an even layer, turning them through the olive oil so they are lightly oiled. Make sure the peppers are skin side down. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
3. Place in the upper part of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Then, using tongs, turn over the peppers and stir the rest of the veggies around. Bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until the pepper skins start blackening.
4. Remove the peppers from the oven (leaving the rest of the veggies to roast if they are not yet cooked through for another about 10 if required). Place the peppers in a small plastic bag, seal and leave them for about 15 minutes while the rest of the veggies cool. Then remove the pepper skins – they should slide off easily.
1. Prepare the tomato sauce as per the recipe, including the red wine but omitting the onion
2. Beat the egg in a medium-sized bowl and add the ricotta cheese, salt and pepper and mix till smooth. Add the cooling antipasti vegetables to the ricotta mixture and gently mix together.
3. Grease a large Pyrex lasagna pan.
4. Spread about 4-5 tablespoons of tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish, just barely covering the whole surface.
5. Arrange one layer of lasagna noodles on top of the sauce (make sure there are no spaces). Break up one of the noodles to fill any gaps.
6. Carefully spread half the antipasti mixture over the noodles, then spread one third of the tomato sauce on top of the antipasti. Sprinkle just under half of the mozzarella over the sauce.
7. Then another layer of noodles, the rest of the antipasti mixture and another one third of the tomato sauce, followed by most of the remaining mozzarella – leaving about half a cup for the top.
8. Add the last layer of noodles and cover with the rest of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and the Parmesan cheese evenly over the top.
9. Place the lasagna in a pre-heated 180°C (350°F) oven for 30-35 minutes (or until the cheese on top is golden – don’t let it burn).
This serves about 8.