Provençal Vegetable Lasagna

Have your lasagna and eat your vegetables, too.

Roasted strips of eggplant, zucchini and red peppers alternate with lasagna sheets in this veggie-enhanced family favorite. No worries, there's plenty of gooey melted cheese and zingy tomato sauce rippling through this gratin, the most adamant veggie haters (we won't point fingers) will be hard pressed to complain.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

This is a great way to use up the excess Provençal veggies you couldn't resist buying at the farmers market. Instead of broiling, the vegetables may be grilled over direct medium heat. I use uncooked lasagna sheets to assemble the lasagna.

Note: Photo reflects a half portion in a smaller baking dish.

Serves 6.

Ingredients

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes

  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed Italian plum tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar, or to taste

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 large red bell peppers, halved, stemmed and seeded
  • 
2 medium eggplants, sliced lengthwise,1/4-inch thick

  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise, 1/4-inch thick

  • 16 ounces whole milk ricotta

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 to 3 cups finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese, divided

  • 1 (8-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella, shredded
  • 
1 box lasagna sheets (you won't use all of them)

  • Fresh basil leaves

To Prepare

  1. Prepare the sauce: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Add 2 cloves garlic and the red chili flakes. Sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, oregano, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Simmer uncovered 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Heat the oven broiler. Place the peppers, cut-side down, in a baking dish. Broil until the skin is blistered all over. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic. Let stand 10 minutes, then peel away the skin. Slice peppers into 1/2-inch strips.

  3. Generously oil a rimmed baking sheet. Lay the eggplant slices in one layer on the sheet, turning to coat with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Broil until golden and tender, turning once. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with zucchini slices.
  4. Whisk the ricotta, egg, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 cup Pecorino, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a medium bowl.
  5. Heat the oven to 350°F.
  6. Spoon a thin layer of sauce into the bottom of an 8 x 10-inch baking dish or gratin. Place a layer of lasagna sheets over the sauce, breaking to fit to size as necessary. Smear some of the ricotta over the pasta. Arrange the eggplant slices over the ricotta. Drop spoonfuls of sauce over the eggplant. Sprinkle with Pecorino and scatter some of the mozzarella over.
  7. Place another lasagna sheet over the cheese. Repeat the layering process, substituting the zucchini for the eggplant. Repeat again with the red peppers. Top with the last layer of lasagna pasta. Smear with ricotta. Top with any remaining vegetables. Spoon the sauce over and around the vegetables. Sprinkle with a final layer of Pecorino and mozzarella.

  8. Bake in the oven until thoroughly cooked through and the cheese is bubbling, 45 to 55 minutes. Serve warm, garnished with shredded fresh basil leaves.

Categories: Food and Drink, Lynda Balslev, Recipes