Meatless Monday: Eggplant-Zucchini Lasagna with Fontina

Posted by on Tuesday Sep 6th, 2011 | Print

GREAT BAKED PASTAS: Mushroom Lasagna; Updated Tuna Noodle Casserole; Baked Macaroni and Cheese; Noodle Kugel; Baked Spinach Gnocchi with Three Tomatoes; Baked Orzo Ratatouille

My mom makes a mean eggplant. Her signature are slices of grilled eggplant, charred on the outside and creamy–almost gooey–on the inside. Though she doesn’t pre-salt, rinse, and pat dry the eggplant, she does salt it pretty well, which is often part of something tasting great. Her technique is to put eggplant slices in a big plastic bag with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and to smush it all around until each slice is well covered. Once it’s on the grill, I’m not privy to what magic she works. All I know is that when she begins to pile them on a platter by the grill and I sneak slices every few minutes, they are unbeatably good. Like magic, the platter tends to be substantially lightened by the time it makes its way to the table.

But the eggplant my mom makes in the oven for grilled vegetable sandwiches or just as a side dish is pretty damn good too.

One Friday night this summer when I was already out at our beach house and Mom was on her way, I decided I should pay her back for all the eggplant I’d stolen from the serving platters over the years. Not wanting to light up the grill for a single eggplant, I opted for the oven. And I wasn’t stopping at eggplant; no, I was going to turn this into a full-fledged vegetarian dinner: lasagna. I added zucchini into the mix, as well as ricotta, fresh tomatoes, and fontina. By the time I got the call that errands and traffic would mean Mom wouldn’t make it out by dinner the lasagna was way too far along to abandon. I rushed to cook it, since it was getting dark and starting to rain, and I knew I wanted to photograph it for the site. After venturing out to the coffee table to catch the last of the grayish light, I ate a slice for dinner all by my lonesome, and it was fabulous: summery in flavor, yet hearty for a cool night’s appetite. All weekend, we lunched, dined, and snacked on the lasagna and I was reminded of what a prize it is to have in the fridge. (I took a photograph of an actual slice the next day, reheated in the microwave, when daylight, and sunshine, were finally back.)

I guess maybe there should be a saying: when life deprives you of dinner with mom, make intentional leftovers. Or not.

From my kitchen, using up the last of the summer produce, to yours,

Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK

**Recipe**


Eggplant-Zucchini Lasagna with Fontina
Serves 4-6

I was inspired to use this 10-inch round skillet, which of course meant some breaking up of noodles and then fitting them together into the pan’s curves. You can also use a square or rectangular baking dish–you’ll want an 8 or 9-inch square pan. When the tomatoes aren’t fresh, you can simply use plum tomatoes from a can.

Ingredients
About 1/2 cup olive oil
1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch-thick slices
2 large zucchini, cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices
Kosher salt
7 plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound no-boil lasagna noodles
12 ounces whole-milk ricotta
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
6 ounces fontina, grated
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with 1 tablespoon olive oil and about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet in the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, until very brown. Remove and let cool. As soon as the zucchini is in the oven, use the same bowl to toss the eggplant with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 3/4 teaspoon salt, making sure all slices are coated (you may need a little bit more). Place the eggplant in a single layer on another baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes until cooked through and browned. Set both vegetables aside.

Bring a small pot of water to the boil. Stick the tomatoes in for 1 minute, then remove with tongs and let cool on the countertop for about 5 minutes, until you can handle them. Trim them and pull off the skin (it should slide off easily; discard it), then use your fingers to break up the flesh. Place in a small bowl and combine with the minced garlic, 2 teaspoons olive oil, and about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Taste the tomatoes: you want them to be very well seasoned, so add a bit more salt if necessary.

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta with oregano and 3/4 teaspoon salt and stir to mix.

In a 10-inch round skillet, pour about 1/2 cup of the tomato mixture. Layer with noodles, breaking them to fit the pan. Top with the eggplant in one layer, then spread on half of the ricotta. Sprinkle with a quarter of the fontina and another 1/2 cup of sauce. Repeat this pattern once, using the zucchini instead of eggplant. (That is, noodles, zucchini, the rest of the ricotta, a quarter of the fontina, 1/2 cup of sauce.) Place another layer of noodles, then dice any leftover eggplant or zucchini and sprinkle on top. Spread with the remaining sauce, then top with the remaining half of the fontina.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes, then uncover, sprinkle with the Parmesan, and bake another 25 minutes, until the cheese is browned and bubbly. Let the lasagna rest 10-15 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

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  • http://www.bevcooks.com Bevweidner

    Da-YAMN, that looks amazing. I might just need to stick my face in it and never come out. Wow.

  • Erica @ Inandaroundtown

    Love the combination of flavors here – especially the fontina cheese!

  • http://twitter.com/jennymo57 Savour the Senses

    I have so much eggplant and so much zucchini right now. Perfect!

    Jenny @ Savour the Senses
    http://savourthesenses.com

  • http://brodskyorg.com/ Brodsky Organization

    This looks absolutely delicious! We’ll have to give this one a try!

  • http://www.flourishingfoodie.com Heather

    Sounds awesome. I’m making it for dinner tomorrow. Cheers.

  • Janephoenix

    You can omit the lasagna noodles if your watching your carb intake. Use the eggplant and zucchini in place of noodles. It’s delish. My husband is diabetic and loves lasagna so I make it this way and he doesn’t taste the difference.

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Great idea!!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Great idea!!

  • Poor artist

    Made this for a girls night dinner. Can not even tell you how good it was! I snuck in a few sauteed mushrooms for good measure. Keep the recipes coming!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      So glad you enjoyed it.Mmm, mushrooms. (Have you seen our Mushroom Lasagna?)

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      So glad you enjoyed it.Mmm, mushrooms. (Have you seen our Mushroom Lasagna?)

  • Poor artist

    Made this for a girls night dinner. Can not even tell you how good it was! I snuck in a few sauteed mushrooms for good measure. Keep the recipes coming!

  • http://www.bcfreeclassifieds.com/index.php?method=showdetails&list=advertisement&rollid=50515&fromfromlist=classifiedscategory&fromfrommethod=showhtmllist&fromfromid=148 manhattan

    looks delicious .. i love it .. i love lasagna and eggplant .. yummy !

  • anna

    Do you think that I could roast the vegetables & make the ‘sauce’ the night before I assemble and bake the lasagna?

  • anna

    do you think i could roast the vegetables one night (say a tuesday), then assemble, bake (and EAT) the lasagna the next night (in this case, wednesday)?

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Hi Anna – yes! You could even assemble the whole lasagna ahead of time and then just bake it off. Enjoy!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Hi Anna – yes! You could even assemble the whole lasagna ahead of time and then just bake it off. Enjoy!

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Eggplant is one of my favorite fall vegetables – there’s so much you can do with it. Lasagna is my husband’s favorite. This seems like a winning combination for us.

  • Valentina

    My niece brought over some of her garden’s bounty.  I was wondering what to do with the tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini that are staring @ me from kitchen.  Thank you Cara!

  • http://thegoudalife.tumblr.com The Gouda Life

    Oh sweet geez this looks amazing! Excellent recipe, I can’t wait to try! – Kelly

  • Anonymous

    Just got a humungo zucchini & 3 little eggplants in my co-op basket this week & this is what I’ll be making with them!  Nice pics, my mouth is watering!

  • Toni Summers

    I made this last night. Yummmmmmmm!! 

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Thrilled you enjoyed!

  • http://twitter.com/EatInEatOutMag lori

    This looks amazing, I love eggplant! Why don’t more people cook with it?

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      I can never get enough of the stuff!

  • Emily: RainbowDelicious.com

    My family and I are pretty much in love with this lasagna! I have received so many eggplants in my CSA this year that we were able to make this many times. I usually use whole wheat lasagna noodles and it still turns out phenomenal. I featured this recipe on my latest weekly menu plan at rainbowdelicious.com so my readers can give it a try too. Thanks so much!

  • Jenn

    Delicious. But too much salt – I love salty food and I found this was just on the limit of what I could handle.

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      I wonder – did you use canned tomatoes? Those are much saltier than fresh.

  • Mrs. Kelly

    Here’s what I did… added some sliced, roasted Valida onions to the veggies, also used some zucchini slices. For the sauce I used some red gravy I had in the freezer (http://www.foxnews.com/recipe/homemade-italian-red-gravy). <—- that stuff is worth the effort, I promise! For the pasta I substituted Brown Rice lasagne noodles. First try on those. I couldn't tell the difference. Trying to cut back on the gluten on our diet. Also used some fresh basil and threw in a can of roasted tomatoes with roasted garlic, for fun. It all added up to yumminess! Will definately be doing this one again!

  • JLC

    If I were to add spinach, would I want to cook it first?

    • JLC

      Adding Kale actually. I’m going to saute it with evoo and garlic first..can’t wait to try! Roasting the veggies tonight and making my sauce, going to make it tomorrow. Using fresh noodles so I have to boil them!

  • Sonia

    Had do substitute Gouda for the Fontina b/c that’s what I had on hand, but it was amazing. Definitely a five star recipe. Thank you for sharing.

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      So, so glad you enjoyed! I’ll have to try it with gouda myself!