The first thing Giovanna and I cooked together was zucchini lasagna. This was an entirely new idea for me as I had neither eaten nor cooked it before. But let me tell you; it’s really delicious, simple to make and the taste of the fresh zucchini really shines through. I’d really only thought of lasagna as a meaty, red sauce kind of dish. But now, I have all kinds of lasagna ideas rolling around in my head; pumpkin, mushroom, eggplant. Giovanna and I also made a sausage and mushroom lasagna (among other things)…..that was out of this world which will all have to wait for another blog. In the meantime, here’s the recipe and photos for her zucchini lasagna, printed with her permission. (You might notice an inconsistency with the photos. I photographed Giovanna and I making the lasagna in Italy, then when I returned to NY, I made the lasagna and photographed it again. I’ll be using a compilation of both sets of photos to give you the best visual directions.)
Here’s your list of ingredients:
3 medium zucchini, grated, seasoned with salt
No-boil lasagna noodle sheets
16 oz. ricotta cheese
¼ c. pesto
For the béchamel sauce:
50 grams of butter
6 T. flour
2 c. milk
Salt and pepper
Let’s make the béchamel sauce:
Take the pan off the heat, and quickly whisk in all the flour to form a paste.
Put it back on the heat and whisk for one minute to “cook” the flour.
Whisk in about a ¼ cup of milk to loosen the paste and continue adding the milk a little at a time. Soon the sauce will begin to form.
As I was whisking, Giovanna warned me to whisk “non impazzisce”. In other words, “without craziness”….because I’d been whisking kind of willy-nilly. Giovanna says we must whisk always in the same direction to make a smooth sauce. I would listen to her if I were you.
Soon the sauce will thicken up and coat the spoon. At this point, remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Add a little béchamel sauce just to loosen the ricotta, and then add the pesto.
Stir together to blend.
The ricotta should now be a lovely shade of green and be spreadable.
If it’s still too thick to spread, you can always add a little milk.
Time to start layering!
Giovanna lines her dish with parchment paper. I simply greased my 13 x 9 pan.
Then place a single layer of no-bake lasagna noodles on top.
Spread a layer of the ricotta mixture over the noodles.
Layer grated zucchini on top of that.
Next comes a layer of grated mozzarella followed by a sprinkling of grated parmesan.
You’re going to love this…..creamy, cheesy, yet fresh tasting because of all that zucchini and the pesto flavor in the background. Serve with a simple salad and maybe a nice pinot grigio. Delizioso! Thanks Giovanna!