This time of year zucchini and yellow squash are in abundance at farmer’s markets, in neighborhood gardens and in the produce section at the local market. My mother-in-law always grows zucchini and we end up with all the extras when the plants take off and produce way more that the two of them can eat!
Two of my favorite Italian sauce flavors are pesto and sun-dried tomatoes. Their flavor profiles just wake up my palate. I find myself adding either – or sometimes both – of them to a variety of dishes. So, when I decided to make a summer squash lasagna as part of my Sunday Meal Prep, a lightbulb went off in my head to skip the Sunday Gravy and use these two flavors instead.
I started off by making both a spinach pesto and a sun-dried tomato pesto.
I wanted to lighten up the filling, so instead of using all ricotta, I used half cottage cheese to make the cheese layer mixture.
Using a mandoline (and a protective glove), I sliced the zucchini and yellow squash lengthwise to produce strips that resembled noodles. Then, I began layering the lasagnas. I used a small Pampered Chef baker and several small oval ramekins so that I would have multiple servings – dinner, lunches during the week and maybe one weeknight dinner if it lasted that long!
I always start my lasagna the way my mom taught me – by putting sauce on the bottom so the noodles don’t stick. Then, I add a layer of noodles, a layer of ricotta mixture and one of the two pesto sauces.
For each dish, I alternated between the spinach pesto and the sun-dried tomato pesto.
I always end with a layer that is squash or zucchini, sauce and cheese (no ricotta mixture in the final layer). Tent the baking dishes with foil for the first 30 minutes to prevent the cheese from burning. Remove it in the final 10 minutes or so.
The results is an amazing flavor that tantalizes your taste buds on so many levels as each of flavor profiles hits the sweet spot on your tongue!
What exciting flavor profiles have you used to alter traditional lasagna?