Alright Mamas, I’m not gonna lie…I was a little ambitious this week. I have a friend, Courtney, who I call the “Zucchini Queen”. She can make any dish out of a zucchini and it always turns out beautiful and taste delicious. I don’t know how she does it, but I wanted to try it myself. My test recipe: Zucchini Lasagna.
In an attempt to keep it real, I am just going to admit: I had low hopes. Right from the beginning I cut my finger and it started bleeding, making me regret not ordering pizza. But I pushed through, and two Band-Aids later, I was back at it. Second red flag: I burnt an entire tray of zucchini slices to a crisp. Still I did not order pizza. And you know what? I’m so glad because even after all of the trials and tribulations…this dish turned out so delicious that I am already looking forward to lunch leftovers!
Here’s how to make it:
First, slice the zucchini. As I am one to admit fault, I would not recommend slicing them Julienne peeler, as the slices were much too thin. I would recommend using a knife and carefully (don’t cut yourself), cut the zucchini lengthwise in about ¼ inch or less strips. Next, set your over to 375 degrees F and place the strips on a non-stick sprayed pan, salted, and roast them for about 10-12 minutes. This is important to make sure the slices aren’t too soggy when you bake the lasagna.
While the zucchini is roasting, chop up your onion and garlic. In a large sauté pan, drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil and put the garlic in the pan, stirring until fragrant. Next, add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent. When that happens, it’s time for the ground beef. Season it with salt and pepper, then cook until it’s no longer pink and the moisture has evaporated.
While the beef is cooking (you’ve got a bit of multitasking going on here), prep the ricotta cheese. If you want a smooth, whipped ricotta, it is best to put it in a bowl and whip it with one egg. This will turn regular ricotta into a fluffy spread, so all you have to do is salt and pepper it!
By now, the zucchini should have come out of the oven and you are ready to build the lasagna! Being Italian myself, I pride myself on a stellar lasagna, so you will not go wrong with my direction. Take the ground beef off the heat and grab a 9×11 baking dish. Why so big? Because you’re going to want leftovers, trust me.
Now, we build the lasagna. First layer: smother the bottom of that pan in Mama Jess Organic Garden Pasta Sauce (about 1/3 of the jar). Second layer: zucchini. Third layer: ground beef mixture. Fourth Layer: Ricotta Cheese mixture. Fifth layer (sort of): basil and oregano flakes…and repeat. I managed to get two full layers, with an extra topping of zucchini, sauce, mozzarella cheese, and spices. I actually smothered the top in mozzarella cheese, because who doesn’t love nice crispy, bubbly layer of cheese on top?
To bake, amp up your oven temperature to 425 degree F and place tin foil over the top of the pan. Bake for about 40 minutes, taking the tin foil off the top halfway through. This will ensure an evenly cooked dish, with perfectly melted cheese.
Now you just have to count how many times your family asks for another plate!
Claire and the Mamas at Mama Jess