nw mama’s zucchini lasagna

Make hay while the sun shines: I’m not going to say this is a simple recipe. This one, my friends, takes patience. Since time is such a precious commodity, I like to make two and freeze one for later!

This lasagna is adapted from a dear friend’s “secret” lasagna. When my dad became diabetic, I wanted him to still be able to have some of his favorite dishes without having them loaded down with carbs. I had heard of using zucchini instead of pasta, so I made a few tweaks and came up with this adaptation. Zucchini Lasagna has also become a great gluten free option for my family.

The secret, I’ll tell you, is the sauce. It is so rich and tasty, I’ve often used it for spaghetti, tortellini, and any other Italian dish requiring a rich, red sauce. It does get better the longer it simmers, so you don’t want to rush. I’ve made it the night before, and kept  it on the low setting in a crock pot overnight. I’ve also made and frozen it for later use. My mouth is watering now, so instead of rambling on about how delicious it is, I’ll give you the recipe!

Ingredents:

2 – 14 oz cans tomato sauceNW Mama's zucchini lasagna.. yum!

2 – 14 oz cans diced tomatoes

1 – 6 oz can tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon oregano

3/4 teaspoon marjoram

4 large garlic cloves, crushed (or to taste)

1 cup dry red wine (merlot, zinfandel, sirah)

1 teaspoon white sugar

16 oz shredded mozzarella (fresh is the best, but I’ve used pre-shredded in a pinch and there were no complaints)

1 lb ground beef

1 lb ground pork

16 oz ricotta, or small curd cottage cheese

2 eggs

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 cup Parmesan

Directions:

Brown beef and pork together. I like to season with a little bit of salt and pepper. Drain, and set aside.

Combine tomatoes, oregano, Italian seasoning, marjoram, wine, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in a large sauce pan and place over medium to medium-high heat. Bring just to a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Add in beef and pork mixture. Let simmer until the sauce becomes thick. Please remember, this sauce should be very thick when you begin to assemble your lasagna. When you are cooking with zucchini noodles instead of actual pasta, there is no absorption of the juice. In fact, the zucchini has the opposite effect and it actually creates a little juice while it cooks.

Using a hand held cheese slicer, or a mandolin (watch those fingers!), slice your zucchini lengthwise into thin strips (about 1/8″ – 1/4″). Keep in a shallow bowl of water with a pinch of salt added. When ready to assemble the lasagna, pat each strip with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture.

Combine ricotta with 2 eggs and 1 tsp Italian seasoning. Mix well and set aside.

Time to put it together!

Put a small amount of sauce on the bottom of 9 x 13 dish. About 1-1/2 – 2 ladles

1st layer:

  • Lay your “noodles” lengthwise
  • 2-3 ladles of sauce
  • Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese

2nd layer:

  • Cut “noodles” and piece together (lay crosswise from 1st layer)
  • 2-3 ladles of sauce
  • Carefully spread ricotta mixture by spooning small amounts over the entire lasagna, then use the back of your spoon to gently join them together.
  • Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese

3rd layer:

  • Lay your “noodles” lengthwise
  • 2-3 ladles of sauce
  • sprinkle with mozzarella cheese

4th layer:

  • Cut “noodles” and lay sideways (don’t piece together),
  • 3-4 ladles of sauce (make sure top is covered)
  • sprinkle with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

Cover and refrigerate overnight. On the day you bake it, remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature. place pan on a baking sheet with edges – it will bubble over some. Bake at 325°F for 40-45 minutes, or until bubbling in the center.
This can stay in the fridge for a couple days, or frozen for a later date.

 

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