feasting with friends

Foodie Friend’s Zucchini Lasagna

Zucchini LasagnaI don’t necessarily choose my friends based on their likes when it comes to food, but similar taste sure doesn’t hurt friendships either! I’ve mentioned in past posts the friends we socialize with, quite often through food. Karen is one of those friends. We can have a 30 minute phone conversation and 29 of those minutes we’ll talk about food. We’ll discuss what we have made lately, restaurants gone to or simply remembering “that” perfect meal we prepared together. This recipe is one she shared with me. Karen and her husband also have a garden and we were discussing ways to use our beloved vegetables. She had recently made this recipe [or a form of it] and really liked it – so it became dinner in my house too. I altered it based on what on had on hand…no trips to the store 🙂 But most importantly, I’m using some of the zucchini I still have. I know, I know in a month our so I’ll wish I had more zucchini. That is one reason why I’m still making an effort to use it up! I’ve just reached the point though where I don’t want any more sauteed zucchini, grilled zucchini, zucchini bread or zucchini muffins. Zucchini Lasagna…I’m good with. The idea for this recipe came from Epicurious. Great thing about it – instead of the pasta, you’re using thinly sliced zucchini. The original recipe called for canned diced tomatoes but I substituted the roasted cherry tomatoes from my last post [which worked out excellent!]. The original recipe used ground turkey, Karen used ground beef and I used ground pork. They all work great. The final product, of course, is your choice. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
•1 Tablespoon olive oil
•1/4 cup onion, finely diced
•1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
•1 pound ground pork
•2 cups low & slow roasted cherry tomatoes from previous post [or 15 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes]
•1 Tablespoon tomato paste
•1/4 cup chicken broth or water
•2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, leaves only
•2 medium zucchini
•1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
•1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
•1 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
•salt & pepper to taste
 
Preparation:
•Preheat oven to 375°F. You’ll be using an 8×8 inch baking dish or equivalent that is at least 1 inch deep [mine was a 6×10 oval]; baking dish requires no prep.
•In a large skillet on medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is tender, 8-10 minutes.
•Increase the heat to medium high. Add the ground pork breaking up large pieces with a spoon. Cook until brown throughout, 5-7 minutes.
Zucchini Lasagna
•Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken broth [water] and bring the mixture to a boil.
Zucchini Lasagna
•Reduce heat to medium and simmer until it thickens, 15-20 minutes.
•Stir in thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
•Slice the zucchini lengthwise into thin strips, about 1/8 inch thick. [If you have a mandolin, now is the time to use it 😉 ]
•Place 6 or so zucchini slices [overlapping slightly] in the bottom of your baking dish.
Zucchini Lasagna
•Use approximately 1/3 of the sauce and lightly top the zucchini slices.
Zucchini Lasagna
•Mix the 1 cup ricotta cheese with the 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Using 1/3 of the mixture, place dollops on top of the sauce.
Zucchini Lasagna
•Now sprinkle 1/4 cup of the shredded mozzarella on top of that.
Zucchini Lasagna
•Repeat the layers two more times, alternating the direction of the zucchini. End with a layer of zucchini. Drizzle with 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil.
Zucchini Lasagna
•Top with remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella.
Zucchini Lasagna
•Bake in preheated oven 40-45 minutes, until lasagna is bubbling and the top is lightly browned. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.
Zucchini Lasagna
Recipe adapted from http://www.epicurious.com

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