I can't imagine a lighter lasagna then this one - the filling only has ricotta cheese and raw zucchini slices and then it's drizzled with a tiny amount of tomato sauce. It can be made both individually or if you like in a big oven dish - I have posted photos of both versions. When serving the individual lasagnas, offer them as a first course and make the portions rather small. The big lasagna I made for the commemoration of my girlfriends' 50th birthday - I invited 14 girls whom I have known since childhood and we had a week of great fun commemorating our 50th birthday. Everyone liked the lasagna and I ended up printing and giving them the recipe. Now I am sharing it with the Food52 community. Hope you enjoy it. —Maria Teresa Jorge
6 - 8
lasagna sheets - fresh or dry
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for boiling pasta
San Marzano Tomato Passata
garlic clove, green inner part removed
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh Buffallo or Sheep Ricotta
medium zucchini sliced in a mandoline (very thin)
Prepare the ricotta: place the ricotta in a medium mesh strainer over a bowl and allow to drain for 30 minutes.
With the back of a laddle, push the ricotta through the strainer so it becomes very light and fluffy. Add the parmesan, freshly ground pepper and mix well.
Wash the zucchini, cut the ends and then in 4 inch pieces. Place each piece lengthwise on the mandolin and cut it in thin slices. Discard the first and last slice which is only skin.Put all the slices in a colander over a bowl, sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt and set aside.
In a pan over medium heat add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the 2 garlics and the sprigs of fresh parsley. When the oil starts to sizzle add the passata, stir, add a pinch of salt and reduce the heat to low. Allow to simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until you have a thick tomato sauce.
Discard the garlics and parsley, check the seasoning, add freshly ground pepper and 1 tablespoon of dry oregano.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. On the side have a big bowl of cold salted water with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Prepare on your your work surface 2 clean kitchen tea towels (linen or cotton - not terry cloth) to drain the cooked lasagna sheets.
If using fresh pasta, add 2 or 3 pasta sheets a time and cook about 2 minutes.Remove each lasagne square out with a slotted spoon and dip it in a bowl with salted cold water. When cold, drain and set them on the clean kitchen tea towel, making sure they don’t overlap so they don’t stick to each other. If using dry pasta sheets, use the same method but follow the cooking time on the packet.
Cut the lasagna sheets in 4.
Pre-heat the oven to 375ºF with rack in the middle position.
If making individual lasagnette have ready 6 to 8 oven proof individual plates 4.5 inches in diameter. Divide 2/3 of the tomato sauce in the bottom of each plate. With a knife, spread half the ricotta filling on 6 or 8 squares of pasta and put each one on top of the sauce. Cover with 3 zucchini slices each and press on the ricotta to adhere.
Repeat with another 6 or 8 squares with the rest of the ricotta but this time rotate the pasta squares so the corners are in the middle of the straight side. of the bottom one. Cover with 3 zucchini slices each and press on the ricotta to adhere.
Finish with a lasagna square, again, corners in a different angle. Divide the remaining tomato sauce over each lasagna sheet, sprinkle with the remaining one spoon of dry oregano and sprinkle a dash of Parmesan and freshly ground pepper.
Lower the oven to 350ºF and bake the lasagnette for 15 minutes or until the lasagna sheets start to get light brown on the corners and these fold up like flaps. This is the reason for layering the sheets at different angles because you end up with a flower like lasagna.
If making a single big lasagna, start with half the tomato sauce, layer each square of lasagna side by side so they don't overlap, keep layering the lasagna at the same angle on top of each other. End with the rest of the tomato sauce, some oregano, parmesan, freshly ground pepper and bake.
Note 1: All ingridients are cooked except the zucchini. Baking the lasagna for a short time enables the zucchini to remain al dente.
Note 2: When I have time, I prepare the cooked lasagna sheets, dry them well and freeze them with plastic film in between the sheets. So I always have the pasta ready and all I have to do is defrost them, make the ricotta filling and a little tomato sauce. Cooked pasta defrosts very quickly!