Cooped Up Cooking: Episode 06

Zucchini Lasagne

Zucchini Lasagne by Chef Amy

The recipe that was recommended to me by my sister-in-law was an original from a Chrissy Tegan cookbook. I found the recipe itself to be a lot of ingredients and think that you could really simplify it at home. I want to show you the original and then show what I did and offer some substitutions. If you have a can of already prepared tomato sauce you could use that and add a few extra veggies to bulk it up, you can use whatever kind of fat or oil you have in the house and you can always substitute fresh herbs for dry herbs (always make sure you use less dried than fresh!). Again you could use this as a more of a concept than a strict guide. If you have a sauce recipe you already like then use that one, you could use different types of filling or add some lentils to a tomato sauce for extra protein and texture.

Original Recipe

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 large onion – finely chopped
1 large carrot – finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
3 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
10 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 spring of rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 pound ground pork
3/4 pound ground beef
1 slice bacon
1 cup red wine
1 cup milk
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (28 oz.) can of diced tomatoes
2 cups (loosely packed) basil leaves – shredded

My Recipe

1tbsp Bacon Fat 
1 onion diced
2 celery stalks diced
6 cloves garlic
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1lb ground beef
1/4lb ground pork
1 tsp chili flakes
salt and pepper
1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 can diced tomato
1 cup basil (optional) 
½ cup cream (optional)

In a big pot, heat the oil and butter (on medium-low heat). Add the onion, carrot, celery, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Stir until soft (about 12-13 minutes). Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 2 minutes longer. Add the pork, beef, bacon, and one teaspoon salt. Increase heat to medium high and cook (breaking up meat with a wooden spoon) for about 6 minutes. Add the wine and cook until most of the liquid evaporates (about 2 minutes. Add the milk, and then the broth, tomatoes, basil, and remaining teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the sauce thickens and reduces (this should take an hour to an hour and a half). Add more broth if it gets dry (I didn’t have to.)

“Noodles” Directions

Take 3/4 large zucchini (find the longest ones you can) and slice them into long 1/4 inch-thick strips. Arrange them on 2 rimmed baking sheets and sprinkle each side with salt. This will let the water come out of the zucchini (leave for about half an hour and you’ll see what I mean.) Pour off the water and pat both sides of the zucchini dry.

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Brush the zucchini with the oil and roast until it loses half its thickness and some slices are slightly brown. (about 30 minutes). Remove and cool.

Filling Ingredients

1 (15-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta cheese (try cottage cheese instead!)
1 3/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (could use cheddar)
1 3/4 cups finely shredded parmesan cheese (skip this if you dont have it!)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups (loosely packed) basil leaves, shredded (optional, could use dried)

Make the Filling

In a large bowl, combine 1 15 oz. container of whole milk ricotta, 1 cup of mozzarella, 1 cup of parmesan cheese, an egg, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of the shredded basil.

Make the Lasagne

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Spread one cup of the sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 inch lasagne pan. Arrange a layer of roasted zucchini on top of the sauce. Top with another cup of sauce, and dot with a cup of the cheese filling. Sprinkle 1/4 cup shredded basil, 1/4 cup of parmesan, and 1/4 cup of mozzarella over that. Repeat the process two more times and then top the lasagne with the extra cheese and bake for 40-45 minutes.