Puttanesca Lasagne with Roasted Vegetables and Basil Oil

This is a multi-phase recipe – which also means that you can do each phase as a “part” of the whole – then when all are complete – assemble and bake.  It tastes wonderful with a nice “kick” from the Puttanesca sauce, and you don’t even miss the meat.  I tend to use “low” or no fat ingredients where possible – and I’ve shared those substitutions with you.  I also like to use the “no boil” lasagne noodles – they have a better texture and taste as they absorb the juices from the cooking vegetables, cheese and sauce.

 

Roasted Vegetable Lasagne

What you need:

1 package lasagne noodles – if using the pre-cook – prepared according to directions on package
1 24 oz. container of Ricotta ( I use no-fat ricotta and no-fat cottage cheese, mixed to measure 24 oz)
1 tsp salt
8 oz of coarsely grated mozzarella cheese
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese – about 3 oz.
Puttanesca Sauce *
Grilled Vegetables *
Basil Oil *

** is all recipes to follow.

Read on for assembly instructions, and how to create the components~

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mix the ricotta (or ricotta and cottage cheese) with salt and ½ cup of the pesto oil.  Lightly grease a 9 X 13 inch glass baking dish, then spread ½ cup Puttanesca sauce over the bottom of the dish.  Cover with a layer of lasagne noodles.  Spread ricotta mixture over the top of the pasta- to cover lightly and evenly. Then lay out grilled vegetables, being sure to alternate (I tend to do a layer of vegetables that is eggplant and onion ).  Cover lightly with the shredded mozzarella and spread another layer of Puttanesca sauce over that.  Repeat with a layer of noodle, veggies (this veggie layer is zucchini and peppers), cheese and sauce.   You will then have 2 veggie layers complete.  Add a layer of noodles, spread with the remaining ricotta- and top with the remaining veggies. Top with Puttanesca, and the remaining shredded mozzarella. Top with the shredded parmesan.  Tent lightly with foil – place in oven.  Total cook time will be about 1 hour 15 minutes – remove the foil from the top of the lasagne after it has cooked for 45 minutes.  Return to the oven; continue to bake until bubbling and golden brown.  Remove from oven and let rest 10 to 15 minutes before serving.  Serve with a drizzle of the fresh pesto oil, crusty bread and a good red wine.

This is even better after sitting for 24 hours – it’s a great make ahead for a busy night dish.

 

Out of the oven – should look like this

 

The Ingredients to do it all yourself:

So – let’s start with the Puttanesca Sauce

What you need:
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 28oz cans Plum tomatoes, smashed OR 4 lbs. fresh Plum tomatoes – chopped roughly with juice.
1 cup, tightly packed, pitted and chopped Kalamata olives
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. capers, drained
½ tsp. basil – dried
½ tsp. red pepper flake

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat – I use a Dutch oven with a lid. Add the onion and sauté until soft and lightly caramelized, about 6 minutes, then add the garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes.  Then add in the tomatoes and the remaining ingredients and simmer until the sauce is thickened and slightly reduced, about 40 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste, cover and set aside.  This will keep for a week if sealed and refrigerated.

Basil Oil is the next item that will keep well in the refrigerator after making it.

What you need:
½ tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
2 cloves of garlic
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup of good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt

Place garlic and basil into the bowl of a food processor or blender – process to chop up the garlic.  Add pepper and salt, change the speed to high, and process while adding the olive oil in a steady stream until well blended.  Taste and if more salt or pepper is needed to flavour – add it.  Place finished oil in a sealed container and refrigerate. It will keep for 1 week.

 

When you have grilled the vegetables – you will be ready to assemble the lasagne.

Grilled vegetables

What you need:
4 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise in ¼” slices
2 medium eggplant (about 1.5 lbs.) cut into ¼ inch rounds
2 large yellow onions, cut into ¼ inch rounds
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp. salt

Preheat the broiler. In a large shallow bowl, toss the vegetables with oil and salt. Then arrange the vegetables in a single layer on 2 lightly greased or non-stick baking sheets. Broil in batches, turning the vegetables once, until they are tender, lightly browned, and have released most of their moisture, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. Watch carefully to not burn them.
Then, to the vegetables you have done here, add slices from 4 red or yellow bell peppers that have been seeded, peeled and roasted.  You can also drain the oil from a jar of ready-made roasted red peppers, and chop into ¼” slices.

Now you have all the ingredients needed to build the lasagne and enjoy the meal!

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