What is it about the process of roasting vegetables that makes them so incredibly delicious. I’d say it’s the caramelization, the olive oil and the seasoning. Roasting a vegetable transforms it and it suddenly it becomes a vessel for any delicious flavours and aromatics you can throw at it! Think roasted potatoes with lemon and oregano… or how cauliflower is transformed from tough and tasteless to creamy and caramelized. It’s tough to beat.
So as you may have deduced, this lasagna is comprised largely of roasted vegetables with the lovely roundness and acidity of a good tomato sauce and of course all the different flavourful cheeses. Goat cheese and roasted vegetables are best friends after all! And what’s really, really great about this recipe is that it is so versatile. Swap out a vegetable or two. How about sliced roasted squash? That’d go great with the ricotta, adding some welcomed sweetness. I’d even add a little sliced cauliflower or why not yellow zucchini? Marinara or meat sauce?Pecorino or Parmigiano? How about smoked mozzarella? It doesn’t matter, apply the techniques here and make it your own!
Get your veggies in the most delicious way! This is a slightly different take on Ina Garten's Roasted vegetable lasagna. This version has a little less pasta (only two layers).
Roasted vegetables bring out some of the best flavours from certain foods. Look at cauliflower, it is completely transformed when it's roasted and golden, just heavenly! It goes from tough and tasteless to soft and caramelized and the taste is beyond delicious. Should I have used Cauliflower in this?! I guess I could have! The combination of these vegetables and the combination of flavourful cheeses takes this lasagna to the beyond delicious realm.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the eggplant and zucchini in single layers on 3 sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Brush them generously with the olive oil on both sides, using all of the oil. Sprinkle with salt quite liberally to sweat the vegetables. Alternately, you can place them in a large bowl. Let them sit for 20-30 minutes or so to draw out excess liquid. Once the time is up, wipe off the accumulated water and salt off with paper towels. Note: Skipping the step of drawing out the liquid may result in a soupy lasagna.
Brush lightly with oil, sprinkle with oregano and pop into the oven and roast for 25 minutes or until they are almost completely cooked. Sprinkle minced garlic overtop and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven. Taste for salt and set aside. They should be flavourful from when they were salted earlier.
Meanwhile, fill a very large bowl with the hottest tap water and add enough boiling water to bring the temperature to 140 degrees. One at a time, place the noodles in the water and soak them for 15 -minutes to soften them slightly. Drain and set aside. Noodles should be stiff, only slightly softened.
Combine the ricotta, Garlic & Herb Boursin cheese or your favourite goat cheese, basil, ½ cup of the Pecorino Romano, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Then add in the egg. Mix ingredients well with a wooden spoon.
Spread 1/2 cup or so of the marinara in a 9 × 13 × 2-inch baking dish. Arrange half of the vegetables on top, Add a ladle-full of sauce and spread around, then add a light sprinkle of Pecorino. Next add a layer of noodles (cut to fit if needed). (I put 3 long sheets of lasagna side by side and they fit perfectly).
Add another ladle of sauce and more Pecorino and a little of the mozzarella. Add the ricotta mixture in large dollops over the mozzarella and spread gently with the back of a large spoon or spatula. Next, top with the second layer of noodles and add more marinara on top and sprinkle with more Pecorino. Add the rest of the vegetables on top and top with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle liberally with the mozzarella. Use as much as you like. Place the dish on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake covered with a piece of parchment the length and width of your dish and place over the top. Then seal with aluminum foil. Leave it covered for the first 45 minutes, then uncover and bake for the remaining for 20-30 minutes or until the lasagna is golden and bubbly.
**TIP: Browned cheese tends to stiffen and I don't always like that, so when its time to remove the foil, just leave the parchment paper resting on top. This will allow extra moisture to escape but your cheese will remain melty and gooey or simply leave it covered with foil the whole time, but lift it up at the corner to vent it*
Allow to rest for 10 minutes and serve hot.
Top with ribbons of fresh basil before service for a fresh burst of flavour!
Adapting is easy. You can easily adapt this method to fit a smaller or larger baking dish. Sometimes I've wanted to make this and I just couldn't find enough decent eggplants so I used more zucchini which tend to cook down more etc... View this recipe as a guideline. I mean, the quantities work for a 9X13 baking dish but if you fall short of veg. it's easy to adapt this recipe to another baking dish size. The amounts for cheese that I put here is a good amount for this size pan as well but put as much or as little as you like. For instance, I don't put a lot of mozzarella between the layers, I like to put the majority on top. You can layer the vegetables in thirds if you wish or in half like I did here. Please do what you like; it'll be delicious no matter what!
Tomato Sauce. There are some fantastic ready-made pasta sauces out there but you can definitely make your own. If you prefer meat sauce, go ahead and use that. The sky is the limit!
What is Boursin Cheese ? It was created by Francois Boursin in Normandy, and is a soft fresh (Cow's milk) Garnay cheese with flavourful additions. It is delicious and has a similar flavour and texture to goat cheese. Goat cheese will be more pungent but goes so well with these types of vegetables, no doubt.