Lasagne alle Zucchine

Lasagne with Zucchini

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For an elegant, satisfying, vegetarian meal, this very fine, lighter lasagne fits the bill perfectly, as long as you use homemade pasta that is. Using store-bought pasta here would be a waste of time and ingredients.

Total Time from Start to Finish: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds zucchini (if yellow zucchini are available use half green and half yellow)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Béchamel sauce made with 3 cups milk
  • teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¾ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Lasagne sheets made with 2 eggs and 1 ½ cups flour

Method

  1. Wash the zucchini and cut into ¼-inch thick half circles.
  2. Put the olive oil, butter and garlic in a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat. When the garlic begins to sizzle, add the parsley and thyme and stir well. Add the zucchini, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini are tender and have lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a bowl set aside.
  3. Make the béchamel. Mix about ⅘ of the béchamel with the zucchini adding the nutmeg and ½ cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Taste for salt and set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450°.
  5. Fill a pot for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water, cover, and place over high heat. Place a large bowl filled with cold water, ice and a sprinkling of salt near the stove. When the water boils, add 2 tablespoons salt and cook 4 of the pasta sheets at a time in the boiling water very briefly, about a minute. Pull them out of the water and put them in the bowl of ice water. Swish the pasta gently in the cold water to remove the excess starch and lay the sheets flat on dry kitchen towels. Continue the process until all the pasta is cooked.
  6. Smear the bottom of a square or rectangular baking dish with half of the remaining béchamel sauce. Line the bottom of the baking dish with a layer of pasta. It is not necessary to use a single sheet of pasta and you can patch several pieces together if you need to, but try to avoid overlapping them. Spread a thin layer of the zucchini mixture over the pasta. The zucchini need not cover the pasta completely as long as it is all covered with béchamel. Place another layer of pasta and another layer of the zucchini mixture and continue until you have at least 5 layers. Spread the remaining béchamel over the top layer of pasta, dot with some zucchini and sprinkle remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top.
  7. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until a golden crust forms on top. Remove from the oven and allow the lasagna to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

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