Monday, January 18, 2010

Grilled Veggie Lasagna

I love making a mess in the kitchen. I have a deal with Gabe, I cook, he cleans. Depending on how I'm feeling sometimes I clean as I cook - for those dishes where I need lots of counter space. Counter space..valuable real estate at our condo. Some nights Gabe walks into the kitchen after what appears to be World War 3 and congratulates me on the mess. He calls the mess I make, "dish tyranny." Who's the drama queen now?

This lasagna isn't one of those, luckily. You're really only dirtying the grill pan, the lasagna pan and maybe one dish. I think that may be one of the reasons my primarily carnivorous man requests this vegetarian lasagna. That, and it's so freaking delicious even the most unapologetic meat eater requests it.

Another reason I always make this lasagna is because it uses a lot less pasta than your traditional lasagnas so I don't feel bad about slicing the pan in half and handing Gabe a fork and a bib. Bigger portions are fine, it's almost all veggies people.

I use Japanese eggplant for this but you could definitely use the regular bulbous ones. I like these better b/c the skins are much thinner and there are fewer seeds. I've heard eggplant can be bitter w/ the seeds but I've never found that to be true - maybe b/c I use these eggplants.

Grilled Veggie Lasagna

3 zucchini, medium
2 Japanese eggplant, large (or use 3 medium sized ones)
6-8 lasagna sheets
1.5 - 32 oz. jars of marinara sauce
1 - 15 oz. ricotta cheese (I only used about 2/3 of it)
1/2 c. Grana Padano grated cheese (*or Parmigiano Reggiano)
1 lbs. fresh mozzarella
olive oil, salt, pepper

I used a 9x12" pan. You'll want it to be at least 3" deep to help the bubble over effect.

Preheat a grill pan on high. Get the eggplant and zucchini pared.

Cut the tops and bottoms off and slice into 1/2" slices lengthwise.

In order to mitigate the 'dish tyranny', I use the same pan I'm going to assemble the lasagna in. Just place the sliced veggies in, drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper.

When the pan starts to smoke, put your seasoned veggies down on the pan.

Each side should take about 2-3 minutes and flip:

Then you get these lovely grill marks...

Then the zucchini, same deal, 1/2" slices:

I make a little assembly line for good work flow. Have a plate handy for the grilled veggies when they're done.

The veggies are going to smoke so make sure you have the exhaust fan on and windows open. Or if you're lucky enough to be doing this on a real grill outside, it's probably temperate enough and you aren't experiencing inclement weather.

Wah wah wah, back to the grilling veggies.

Look at these beautiful eggplant. You can wrap anything in grilled eggplant and I would eat it.

Now, for the rest of the kids.

Don't forget to cut that fresh mozzarella into 1/4" thick slices.

See? I wasn't lying. There's that dirty lasagna pan I used to season the veggies. Just be sure there isn't too much salt on the bottom of the pan. If there is, just rinse it quickly before you start to assemble. Remember, don't be a dish tyrant.

Start w/ sauce - about 1 cup.

Lay down 4 lasagna sheets, uncooked. I promise, these will be cooked when you pull that lasagna out of the oven.

Ricotta - just eyeball it. Spread 1/3 of the tub.

Spoon it all over the pasta sheets.

Lay down a layer of grilled veggie..

Nom nom nom.


Pasta sheets..

Spread about 1/2 the mozzarella onto the pasta sheets.

More grilled veggies.

Oh, those grilled veggies. They make me salivate.

More sauce.

Then, the Grana Padano or Parm Reggiano. This adds SO much flavor to the lasagna.

Then, the last of the mozzarella.

Then, the last of the sauce.

More cheese please!

Make sure to line that pan w/ some foil, or you will be a negligent dish tyrant.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes w/ the foil on. Then uncover and bake for another 35 minutes. It comes out looking like..

The first time I tried this lasagna I put the mozzarella on top of the sauce and while the crust came out nice and pretty, the fresh mozzarella tends to get hard so unless you're planning on eating in one sitting, I like putting an extra layer of sauce on top to prevent the hard mozz layer.

So this is what it looks like..don't you want to just dive head first into this?

Oy. Help me control myself.

No comments:

Post a Comment