Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy Accidents in Roasted Veg Lasagna.

Way back in July, when I first began this blog, in my first post even, I promised to post missteps, in addition to posting my successes - knowing eventually I would have a misstep. Guess what? 

I am in that contingent of folk who are gluten-sensitive, meaning I can eat gluten, but sparingly. I'm always experimenting with ways to cut the gluten out, but without making me feel like I'm missing something. 

With an over-abundance of squash and zucchini in this summer's market bag, I began to experiment with using the squash in recipes and one that has worked well, in a few iterations, is Roasted Veg Lasagna. 

Roasting veggies is basically the easiest thing on the planet. And the right combo of veg leads to a great pasta substitute. 

Note: no pictures for this one, I'm sorry. I was making this for myself and at the same time, making a chicken veg stir-fry for Spouse so we had lunches for the week. The tag teaming for both dishes made it difficult to keep track of each dish and take pics....sorry, cooking won out!

1 large Japanese eggplant - cut into quarters, then sliced into 1/4"ish pieces
2 medium zucchini - sliced into 1/4"ish pieces
2 Tbsp of a really good extra virgin olive oil (per type of veg)
4 cloves of garlic, sliced (per type of veg)
Seasonings - salt and pepper or herbs you like, to taste

1 package of The Spinach Ball Company's Gluten Free Spinach Balls (heh heh heh) - baked in oven, following instructions on box

1 lb. mozzarella cheese - I used Micelli's pear (didn't use the whole thing but about 55%)
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
3 cups or so of tomato sauce - I used some roasted tomatoes I froze this summer and let me tell you, it was just as delicious now, as it was when I made it. 

Put the sliced veggies in a bowl big enough that you can toss them with the olive oil, garlic and seasonings. Just enough that each slice is coated and glistening.

After all is nicely coated, lay the veg on a baking sheet large enough to accommodate one single layer with little overlap. 

Place baking sheet in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for 25 minutes. You can flip the veggies over half-way through if you want to - I didn't and they were done nicely on both sides. 

I roasted the eggplant and zucchini separately, hence why I have the olive oil and garlic as per type of veg. I didn't add it in the ingredient list, but I also had some of The Oilerie's Rosemary Garlic Bread Dipping Oil, which is olive oil with aged balsamic vinegar (+ rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper), and used 1/2 of it + 1/2 straight olive oil to coat the veggies. But just olive oil and seasonings is scrumptious too, trust me. The balsamic just kicks it up a notch, if you will. 

Another quick note: you can cut the veg into strips just as easily as whole rounds or quarter round slices. It's up to you, but you coat them just the same. 

Let the veggies cool a little bit before you begin to put the lasagna together. Simply makes it easier to handle. 

Since I also used some spinach balls (I said balls), I baked those for the recommended time (I think it was 20 minutes). I bought these on a whim and just decided at last minute to throw them in, for a little more texture and flavor. They come 6-1.5" balls to a package and I just mushed them down so I could make one layer of them. 

Here's how I construct the pan. First of all I use a wide bread pan, which is also non-stick. I put down a layer of sauce or in this case, roasted tomatoes. Then layer of roasted eggplant - enough to overlap and make a decent bedrock for everything else to come. It probably ended up being about a cup of the eggplant. 

Next I cut 1/4"ish slices off of the mozzarella pear and put the slices on top of the eggplant. This fresher version of mozzarella does not shred/grate easily. It's just easier to slice it. 

A layer of tomatoes, layer of zucchini, parmesan, tomatoes, smushed spinach balls, mozzarella slices, tomato, then final sprinkling of parmesan on top. 

I ended up filling the pan to the very top, so got a larger pan out and placed the bread pan in it, so if it bubbled over while baking (and it did), it wouldn't get my oven all smokey & messy. 

Normally, I would cover the pan in foil but since it was filled to the top, I didn't this time, lest all of the yummy meltey parmesan would stick to the foil, and not stay atop my yummy lasagna. 

Pop the whole thing in the oven for at least an hour and just check it toward the end. Is the top layer of cheese meltey? Is the sauce bubbling? Do the edges look done (crispy-ish but not burnt)? If yes, then it's probably done. 

If you do put foil over the pan to bake it, take it off for the last 5-10 minutes, so the top layer of cheese has extra time to get all meltey and delicious. 

Anybody see the critical missing ingredient? Anyone? Bueller? 

Ricotta cheese

Had an entire container of it but didn't completely forgot to get it out of the frig, so ultimately got left out. Derp.

I didn't feel the dish lacking in any way. In fact, little lie - one photo, from today:
Lord Grantham approves of my clean dish.
Based on my guesstimate, it's about 356 calories per serving and one pan made six servings. I ate the heck outta that serving and look forward to having another serving tomorrow too!

Do you have favorite veggies that you roast? 
Are the veggies substituted for other ingredients? 
What other ways would you tweak this recipe? 
I'd love to hear what you do!

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