Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Zucchini Lasagna

Over the last few months, Jon's evening shifts have been opportunities for me to make super healthy dinners - dinners that Jon would feel were a punishment if he had to eat them. He's not anti-health by any means, but he's definitely a meat/starch/veggie guy and most Pinterest-worthy or Weight Watchers-inspired recipes send him scowling to the hills. Any pasta-based meal where the carbs are replaced by zucchini, therefore, is definitely off the menu when we're eating together.

So, the other night, I took advantage of one of Jon's night shifts to try my hand at zucchini lasagna using this New York Times recipe as a starting point and working with what I had in the fridge and pantry. (After the lasagna pizza I made a few weeks ago, it was time for something closer to the real deal!) The dish made four portions; I only had one helping on my own that night, so Jon and I ended up sharing another two the next night and I'm delighted to say he loved it. And then the last serving was used as the base for a brunch of baked eggs with crusty bread. It was delish, both on its own and repurposed! I'lll definitely be making this again.

Zucchini Lasagna

serves 4
(I've altered the recipe slightly from what I made in terms of quantities and order of layers, which you'll realize when you see the photo of my finished dish at the bottom. Learn from my experimenting!)

1 onion, diced
3 tbs minced garlic
1 tbs red chili flakes
28 oz can of tomato paste
dried herbs, mixed
2 huge or 4 medium zucchini
6 links pre-cooked chicken sausage (I used al fresco's roasted pepper and asiago)
8 oz crumbled feta or goat cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper

Heat oven to 450°. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Trim ends off zucchini and fillet into lengthwise slices, about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick. Season on both sides with salt and pepper and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Arrange zucchini slices on baking sheets in one layer and roast for 12 minutes, until lightly browned and easily pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 375°.

While the zucchini is roasting, sautée the diced onions in a deep pan over medium high heat with a little olive oil. After 5 minutes, once the onions have softened and started becoming translucent, add the garlic and cook for another two minutes, stirring frequently so the onions and garlic don't stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the chili flakes and mix with the onion/garlic, and then add the tomato paste, combining well. Add herbs as desired and continue to stir for another 5 minutes.

Let the zucchini cool once it's out of the oven; turn the heat off on the sautée pan. Slice the chicken sausage into rounds and set aside.

Oil the bottom of a casserole dish. Spread a layer of tomato sauce on the bottom, about 1/3 of the mixture. Top with a layer of zucchini (half of the slices you have), then a layer of chicken sausage (half of the slices you have), then a layer of crumbled cheese (1/3 of what you have). Repeat the sauce/zucchini/sausage/cheese layering a second time, then top with a last layer of sauce and the remaining cheese. Drizzle on some more olive oil. Bake at 375° for about 35 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is golden, and then serve and enjoy!

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