Friday, August 5, 2011


I announced that I was going to make lasagna, and my father demanded eggplant simultaneous with my sister's request for zucchini. I had just planned to make a chunky garden sauce and use pasta. So I compromised.

I was pretty paranoid about noodles floating in the water from the zukes and eggplant. I hate a soggy lasagna. I like the salt and drain method for eggplants, but I think it works better for chunks, and I wanted coins. So I did salt and drain both the eggplant and zucchini coins, but I also nervously threw them in a 450 degree oven for 5 or 7 minutes to dry them out.

I also drained the ricotta cheese and discarded about 1/2 cup of water. I don't think it hurts.

Then I started worrying that the lasagne would actually be too dry. I used fresh tomatoes in my sauce, which cooked down impressively. I ended up with probably less than 3 cups of sauce, barely enough to dab each layer of noodles. But in the end, I think there was enough moisture left in the eggplants and zucchini to make up for the skimpy sauce. Served with crusty bread and herbed olive oil, it made everybody happy. So they told me.

I did not salt the sauce at all, because the zucchini and eggplant are quite salty. Since I did not make enough sauce, I will put the quantities that I actually used in parentheses, followed by the quantity I plan to use next time.

This fills one 9x13 pan and one 10x15 pan.


1-2 tablespoons olive oil
(1) 2 onions, chopped or diced
4-5 cloves garlic
2 big carrots in thin coins or diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped or diced
3-4 spicy or banana peppers, chopped or diced
(6) 10 ripe, fresh tomatoes, chopped, juice saved
sugar, pepper, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, thyme, parsley to taste
Optional: up to 1 cup red wine

4 small eggplants, in thin coins
2 big zucchini, in thin coins

1 lb lasagne noodles

16 oz ricotta cheese
2-3 cups mozzarella cheese
2 egg yolks

Begin by placing the sliced eggplants and zucchini in separate colanders, and sprinkling each with about 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Squish them around with your hands so that the salt is evenly spread out. You can also start the ricotta draining if you wish. Leave this stuff alone while you make the sauce.

To make sauce:
Saute onions and garlic in olive oil at medium-high heat until soft. Season with herbs and pepper. Reduce heat to medium, add carrots and peppers, and cook until soft. If desired, slosh in some red wine, let it cook off, repeat. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to low. Add sugar to taste. Let the sauce simmer and thicken for about half an hour.
During that time, check the zucchini and eggplant. You can wring the water out with a large dish towel, or you can spread them out on pans and put them in a very hot oven (450) for 5-7 minutes.
Cook the lasagna until al dente, and rinse in cold water.
Mix egg yolks, ricotta, and 1 cup of the mozzarella. You might season with pepper or nutmeg.
When the sauce doesn't have any water sitting on top of it, layer the lasagna like so-- sauce, zucchini, eggplant, cheese, noodles. Probably only two of these sequences will fit in your pan. End with sauce on top of the noodles, and spread the rest of the mozzarella cheese on top. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes or until the cheese is good and bubbly. Remove from oven and let set 5-10 minutes. Eat some bread. Eat the lasagna.