Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tonight's Dinner - Local Zucchini, Kale and Tomato Lasagne with a Sweet Fennel Sausage

I had one last zucchini from the summer left in my fridge today, but was in the mood for a lasagne, so I decided that the zucchini could replace one of the noodle layers in this fresh vegetable lasagne. Because I make my lasagne with fresh vegetables (which have a high water count) I do not pre-boil my lasagne noodles. I have found they are always cooked through and actually hold up much better when added to the lasagne uncooked - and there is no need to buy the "no boil" noodles.

Click to enlarge

What you need:
Serves 6
1 Fresh Mozzarella Sliced
1 Package of Hard Mozzarella Grated
1 Pint of Fresh Whole Milk Ricotta
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 lb of your favorite Sausage (I used a sweet fennel sausage from my local Italian specialty store)
1 jar of Rao's Marinara Sauce or use your own
2 large Garlic cloves - minced
Half a box of Whole Wheat Lasagne Noodles (Dont cook them)
2 large handfuls of kale chopped
4 large tomatoes sliced in 1/2 inch rounds
1 Large Zucchini sliced in 1/2 inch rounds
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (convection if you have it).

Brown the sausage in a small sauté pan (squeeze it out of the casing into the pan) and then add in the minced garlic and let that cook for a few minutes, just enough to brown (as it will cook through in the oven while baking). Then remove from heat and set aside.

Next sauté the chopped kale in a bit of olive oil until it cooks down a bit, but still retains its color. Then remove from heat, add salt and pepper and set aside.

Take the ricotta and put it into a strainer with a bowl underneath so that the liquid would drain for about 5 minutes. Then stir the lemon juice and black pepper into the fresh ricotta and set aside.

Then begin to assemble the lasagne in this order. A layer of sauce on the bottom, lasagna noodles, ricotta, fresh tomatoes, kale, zucchini, red sauce, grated mozzarella, ricotta, kale and then a final layer of tomatoes, top with the browned sausage, and any remaining red sauce. Cover with foil and bake on convection for about 35 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove the foil and turn the oven to broil and top with the fresh mozzarella and return to the oven until the mozzarella is slightly browned and bubbling. Let sit for 10 minutes then slice and serve.

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