11 September 2012

Summer Squash "Lasagna"

This recipe is friendly to all you gluten-free types out there, but the real reason I developed it is because I have so much summer squash I don't know what to do with it all.  Anyone who has ever grown these tender yellow tubes know what I'm talking about.  So, instead of using lasagna noodles, I use sliced squash.  If zucchini is your garden problem, use that instead. You could also throw in some no-bake noodles underneath if you can't live without the carbs, but as a professed carb queen, I can tell you that I really don't miss them in this recipe.

Summer Squash “Lasagna”

Makes 12 pieces

…or you could use zucchini.  Add this to the list of recipes developed to survive the onslaught of these summer beauties that just seem to take over the garden from July to October.

4 large summer squash, cut into ½ -inch thick “coins”
4 large tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch thick slices
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
8 oz. ricotta cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Dried oregano, salt and crushed red pepper flakes
Cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves

You can skip this step if you’re pressed for time, but it will help keep the moisture content down: lay all squash and tomato slices out in single layers on thick paper towels or flour sack towels, salt lightly, and place another layer of paper/ flour sack towels on top.  Allow to sit at least 30 minutes before building your lasagna.  This releases the excess water from the vegetables so they don’t become a soup in the oven.

I threw in a green tomato that had fallen off the vine early.

Oil a large lasagna pan with extra virgin olive oil.  Start layering: squash coins on the bottom, a tomato slice on top of each squash coin.  Add a little salt, red pepper, and dried oregano on top, then small blobs of ricotta on each tomato slice, followed by a very thin scattering of some mozzarella.  Continue in this fashion, pressing down to compact the cheese as you go, until you’re out of all the squash and tomatoes--your last layer should be vegetables.  Scatter the fresh basil all over the top, then cover with remaining (should be the majority of the 4 cups) mozzarella.

Cover the pan with foil, allowing a little space at the top so it doesn’t stick to the cheese.  Bake at 375°F for 40 minutes.  Uncover, raise temperature to 425°F, and bake another 20 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and some of the extra liquid in the pan has reduced to more of a sauce.