Chris' Recipes

Bon Appetite!

Lasagna with no bake pasta and zucchini

Written By: Chris - Jan• 20•15

The wide flat sheets of Lasagne pasta originally made by the Romans were called lasagne. Lasagne later came to refer to a dish cooked using long flat pasta sheets, layered with minced meat, cheese, and tomatoes.  Lasagne originated in the Emilia-Romagna region of North Central Italy where authentic egg pasta was born.

Lasagna, the most well-known pasta al forno (food that has been baked in an oven), varies from region to region. Tuscans and Emilia-Romagnans make it with a béchamel, a meat ragu, and grated Parmigiano. Ligurians make it with pesto.  It’s one of those dishes that is hard for me to “write” a recipe for, because I tend to “dump some of this and that” for ingredients that I have on hand.  You can use your own favorite store bought brand of pasta sauce, or make your own like I did!  Be warned my sauce was created as a way to clean out the freezer.  Any sauce will do!

Even though zucchini is served as a vegetable, it’s technically a fruit because it comes from a flower.  I like to use it in place of noodles to help cut calories and add nutrition.  Overall, nutrients found in zucchini promote bone health, heart health, healthy weight and aid in cancer prevention because it has a high water content (95 percent), which makes it a very low calorie vegetables (only 17 calories per 100 g/one small zucchini).  It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, is packed with Vitamin C, A, folate, magnesium, protein and fiber.  In addition, zucchini contains more than three times the potassium of the average potassium supplement, which helps in muscle growth and maintaining a healthy nervous system.  You can cut this recipe down.  I prepared four pans, which would equate to about two 9X13 cake pans.

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Ingredients:

No Bake Lasagna Pasta Sheets
1 Onion, chopped fine
1 pound Italian style ground Turkey
1 pound ground Turkey
1 pound ground Beef
1 pound Italian sausage
4 Garlic Cloves, pressed
1 (8 oz) package Cream Cheese
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
2 Cups Cottage Cheese
1 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 Eggs
Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Italian Cheese Blend, shredded 
2 – 4 (26-ounce) Pasta Sauce, any flavor
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Parsley, to taste
Basil, to taste

pasta sauce sauce

I had spent a good part of a Saturday, sorting through my freezers and pulling out the past seasons unused tomatoes and fresh herbs!  I had some homemade salsa that I wasn’t using fast enough because it was a bit on the runny side; and I found a couple of frozen dishes of stuffed peppers and left over spaghetti sauce from previous meals.  The food processor is my friend, so it was all pureed and added to some pots for a couple hours of reducing.  I also added cooked onions, fresh and roasted garlic, brown sugar, fresh basil, parsley, chives, oregano, bay leaves, Parmesan rinds, salt and pepper.  After a couple hours, it was reduced down to one big pot for the winter season’s red sauce! I froze much in air tight bags and plan to used it in spaghetti, lasagna, etc.

On Sunday the family was coming over for dinner, so I had reserved some of the sauce with the intention of preparing a couple of pans of lasagna.

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Brown the ground meats with onion, garlic, salt and pepper; drain.

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Set up an assembly station to layer ingredients for lasagna. Shred cheese and slice zucchini THIN with a mandolin.    In medium bowl, warm the cream cheese and combine it with whisked eggs, ricotta, and cottage cheese; mix well.  I choose to press the cottage cheese through a fine colander, so the texture is the same as the ricotta. 

Barilla no bake trader joes italian noodles

tj sheets

I fist tried “Oven-Ready” Lasagna pasta using the “Barilla” brand.  These are clear like you see below, but I recently picked some up from Trader Joe’s.  They are produced in Italy and I prefer their egg pasta resemblance, texture and taste.

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Place enough sauce in the bottom of a greased baking dish to cover with a thin layer.  Line the bottom of the pan with sheets of pasta, overlapping slightly.

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Cover with an even layer of the ricotta cheese mixture; a thin layer of the cooked meat mixture; mozzarella, Parmesan and Italian shredded cheese.

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Next, add another thin layer of pasta sauce, an overlapping layer of the sliced zucchini, another even layer of the ricotta cheese mixture; a thin layer of the cooked meat mixture; mozzarella, Parmesan and Italian shredded cheese.

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Repeat layering until pan is full and/or top with more pasta sauce, another layer of pasta sheets and top with a layer of sauce.  Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.

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Uncover and top with mozzarella.  Return to oven and bake uncovered an additional 15 minutes.  (I broil mine to finish the cheese and create browning) Allow to rest and stand 15 minutes at room temperature before slicing and serving.  Add fresh herbs if desired. 

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I prepared several pans.  Some to be frozen (unbaked), some for girls night the next day; and some without the zucchini.

Enjoy!
Cheers!
~Chris

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