I am crazy about lasagna and always looking for ways to enhance the dish and surprise my dinner guests with unlikely ingredients. I thought an array of grilled vegetables would be a great accompaniment to the dish.
Ingredients for Tomato Sauce:
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
2 (28-ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup diced onions
½ cup diced celery
12 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups beef stock
salt and red pepper flakes to taste
Method for Tomato Sauce:
In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, and sliced garlic and sauté 3–5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, and basil then sauté 2–3 minutes or until fragrant. Add wine and stock. Bring mixture to a rolling boil and reduce heat to simmer. Season to taste using salt and red pepper flakes. Cook until mixture is reduced by half and sauce is thickened.
NOTE: Diced tomatoes should be broken down into a sauce consistency by this time. While sauce is simmering prepare vegetables.
Ingredients for Grilled Vegetables:
1 medium eggplant, ends trimmed and sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch slabs
3 zucchini, ends trimmed and sliced lengthwise ¼-inch thick
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into 6 slices
1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 6 slices
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsps balsamic vinegar
kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
granulated garlic to taste
Method for Grilled Vegetables:
Prepare grill according to manufacturer's directions. When hot, place all vegetables in a large bowl. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar then toss to coat well. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, and granulated garlic. Place vegetables on hot grill and cook until slightly softened and charred marks appear, 3–4 minutes per side. When done, set aside to cool.
Ingredients for Lasagna:
12 uncooked lasagna sheets
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
Tomato Sauce (See above)
Grilled Vegetables (See above)
1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
Method for Lasagna:
Preheat oven to 350°F. When the sauce is ready, discard bay leaves and stir in ricotta cheese. Place half of the sauce in a food processor and purée until smooth. Return to the sauce pot, bring to a simmer and adjust seasonings if necessary. To assemble, spread 1 cup ricotta-tomato sauce over the bottom of a 13" x 9" x 2" baking dish. Place 4 uncooked lasagna noodles on the top of the sauce, breaking them to fit the edges. Place ? of the grilled vegetables over the noodles, spoon 1½ cups sauce over the vegetables then sprinkle with ? of the mozzarella. Repeat to create 3 layers, ending with remaining sauce and cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an addition 15 minutes. Serve hot.