My family absolutely loves this dish. It is one of those wonderful dishes that is best prepared the day ahead which leaves you plenty of time for entertaining when your friends are over. It came about as my son was dating a girl who was a vegetarian, I wanted to make a dish for supper that we could all enjoy with her. I looked at a variety of recipes and formulated this one, which we have come to love - I have shared the recipe with garlic loving friends who just can't get enough! All the ingredients can be grown in my backyard, although I usually buy the eggplant at the St. Jacobs Farmers market in Waterloo, about 15 minutes from my home. Serve this with a caesar salad and some crusty bread and voila! A meal your friends won't soon forget!
- Portion size 8 servings
- Credits : aplin
- 20 tomatoes cut in half
- 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons fresh thyme chopped
- 6 zucchinis sliced lengthwise into approx. 1/8 inch slices
- 1 eggplant peeled and sliced legthwise into 1/8 inch slices
- 2 heads garlic
- olive oil to brush tops of garlic cloves
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 1 onion chopped
- 8 cloves garlic minced
- 20 fresh basil leaves stacked together, rolled and sliced thinly
- 8 red peppers roasted on your own (see instructions) or from a jar
- 1 box lasagna noodles made with spinach or whole wheat
- 2 cups ricotta cheese fine
- 1 cup old Cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese grated
MethodPreheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lay the tomatoes cut side up on baking sheets, sprinkle with 1 tsp each of salt and pepper, and 1/2 tablespoon of the thyme. Roast for 30 minutes. Add zuchhini and eggplant. Continue roasting for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven.
Lower the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the top off garlic heads, exposing cloves, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of thyme. Place in shallow baking pan and bake for 45 minutes or until golden and bubbly. (The garlic can be baked while you are preparing tomato sauce).
Over medium heat, warm about 1/3 cup of juice from the diced tomatoes in a saucepan. Add the onion and saute until soft, about 5 - 7 minutes. Add minced garlic and continue sauteeing another 3 minutes or so. Add the remaining tomatoes and juice. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and add chopped basil, then roasted red peppers. (If you want to roast your own red peppers, which is wonderful and easy to do when peppers are in season - place whole peepers on a prepared grill or in 450 degree oven, cook until charred on all sides and the skin is black. Immediately put the roasted red peppers in a zip loc bag and seal. Let the peppers steam in the bag for 15 minutes. Remove the peppers from the bag and pull the stems off, break the peppers apart and discard the seeds, The charred skins will peel of easily. Cut into strips.)
Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions.
Now you are ready to assemble lasagna!
Combine the ricotta, roasted garlic (remove from skins), old cheddar, remaining thyme and 1 tsp. salt and pepper in a bowl. Lay three to four lasagne noodles lengthwise in a lasagna pan (depending on your pan, I use pampered chef's lasagna pan). Then add half of ricotta, cheese and garlic mixture, a layer of roasted red peppers, a layer of zucchini and another layer of pasta, the rest of the cheese mixture, another 1/2 cup of sauce, the the eggplant and tomatoes. Top with a layer of pasta, more tomato sauce and finally top with grated mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil (at this point you can refrigerate until ready to bake the next day.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake about 40 minutes or until bubbly, remove foil and continue baking for 5-10 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy with a caesar or fresh garden salad and a loaf of crusty bread and your favourite wine. Delicious!