Make Ahead

spinach, eggplant and zucchini lasagna

April 26, 2014
0 Ratings
Photo by Carina A. Favale
  • Makes 1 large baking dish lasagna
Author Notes

Thin, delicate sheets of homemade spinach pasta layered with marinara sauce, eggplant and zucchini from my Easter holiday and spring celebration. Fresh, light and delicious (tastes even better a few days after storing in the refrigerator) —cucina di mammina

What You'll Need
  • the besciamella sauce (bechamel)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 5 tablespoons or so of unsalted organic butter
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons unbleached flour
  • approx. 4 cups whole organic milk
  • the lasagna
  • 2 fresh large organic Italian purple eggplants, washed
  • 6-7 fresh organic zucchini, washed and trimmed
  • 1 batch of homemade marinara sauce, warmed
  • 1 16 oz. container of fresh whole milk ricotta
  • about 2 cups or so of grated parmigiano-reggiano or romano cheese (or a combination of the two)
  • olive oil
  • 1 pound or so of homemade spinach egg lasagna noodles, uncooked
  1. To prepare the besciamella sauce:
  2. In a medium saucepan, set the milk to come to just under a boil (watch this carefully so it does not over boil and burn.) In a second medium saucepan, melt the butter on medium to low heat. Add the flour and stir until smooth, Cook slowly while continuing to stir until it becomes a light golden brown; about 6 to 7 minutes or so.
  3. Once the milk comes to heat (not a boil), begin adding the milk to the butter and flour mixture and whisk in the milk while the heat remains on medium.
  4. Continue adding in the milk about a cup at a time until all is added. Continue whisking on medium heat and the mixture should begin to thicken slowly; this takes about 1o minutes. Once the mixture is fully thickened; remove from the heat.
  5. Add in the salt and nutmeg; mix well and taste for any additional seasoning. Cover and set aside to cool.
  6. To prepare and bake the lasagna:
  7. Peel and slice the eggplant into about 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices and season with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, drizzle olive oil and sauté the eggplant slices on both slices until lightly golden and soft. Place on a platter and let cool.
  8. Using a vegetable peeler, slice the zucchini into thin long ribbon strips until all are cut down. Season lightly with salt and pepper and in the same skillet, drizzle more olive oil and sauté the ribbons very quickly just until tender. Remove to the platter and let cool.
  9. Assemble the lasagna ingredients and set a very large stock pot to boil; season the water liberally with salt. Once the water reaches a full boil; lower the heat slightly and begin to add the spinach noodles about four to five at a time; depending on the size of your pot.
  10. Cook these stirring once in a while to make sure they are completely in the boiling water for about two to three minutes and remove to drain and set on a clean platter to rest (do not overlap the noodles or they will stick together!) You can lay sheets of wax paper on the tablecloth to ensure the cooked noodles do not stick, if you prefer.
  11. Once all the noodles are cooked; remove the water from the heat and discard. Using a large deep baking dish; drizzle the bottom liberally with olive oil and add a good amount of marinara sauce to the bottom of the baking dish.
  12. Begin to lay the cooked noodles lengthwise to cover the bottom of the dish; try not to overlap the noddle too much (break them by hand if you need.)
  13. Add some marinara to the top of the noodles and layer next with a mixture of the eggplant slices and zucchini ribbons; add some grated cheese and spoonfuls of ricotta as the next layer (use your discretion on how much you like here.)
  14. Using a large spoon drizzle liberal amount of the besciamella and begin the layering again with more noodles. Alternate this next level by layering the noodles along the width of the pan (alternating the layered noodles is helpful so they are less likely to fall apart when cutting into the finished baked lasagna.)
  15. Continue this layering process until you have reached the last top layer; be sure to cover the last layer well with the marinara, grated cheese and remaining besciamella. Cover the baking dish lightly with foil and preheat the oven to 425 degrees and let come to temperature.
  16. Note: Any leftover cooked noodles can be wrapped individually and frozen for making future dishes (pasta rolls, stuffed manicotti-style baked pasta, etc.) Reserve and store leftover marinara sauce for future use as well.
  17. Bake the lasagna in the oven for about 30 to 35 minutes; remove the foil and continue baking until the top begins to crisp up and the sauce is bubbling (about 10 minutes or so more.) Remove the baking dish from the oven and cover lightly, set aside to cool a bit. Serve immediately.
  18. Note: See my recipe file for homemade spinach pasta: once dough is blended add a batch of fresh steamed spinach, squeezed and drained of all liquid, chopped finely. blend into dough and knead until smooth, let rest covered for 5 to 10 minutes before rolling sheets for lasagna.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

0 Reviews