Monday, September 6, 2010
We love the flavor combination of ratatouille: tomatoes, eggplant, summer squash, supplemented with onions, garlic, peppers, and herbs. But the vegetable mix is never satisfying as a dinner: you eat and eat and eat and never fill up. Much better is a lasagna, layering the vegetables between cheese and pasta. So we decided the have the best of both worlds.
We began by slicing and lightly salting the vegetables (eggplant, onions, bell peppers, zucchini) and spread them in single layers in pans to roast uncovered in the oven. Meanwhile, we made a pasta dough with one part white flour to two parts semolina, a little salt, a couple eggs, and enough water to hold it together but not so much as to make the dough tacky. We rolled the dough through the hand-cranked pasta maker and let it dry on a rack. Then we put together our cheese mixture: minced garlic, grated mozzarella, grated romano, fresh thyme, grated black pepper, and ricotta. Finally, we diced some tomatoes, saving the juive, and mixed in some diced onion and chopped basil and a little salt.
Ingredients prepared, we started layering the lasagna. Begin by putting a splash of oil and just a little of the tomato juice at the bottom of the pan, and then a layer of noodles. Then some of the tomato mixture, a layer of zucchini, and a layer of cheese, with some of the roasted onions and peppers dotted through. On top of all this, another layer of pasta, then tomatoes, eggplants, cheese, and continuing in this way until the casserole is assembled. End with noodles and a thick layer of cheese, decorated with some roasted onions and peppers.
Cover the casserole with a tent of foil, and bake about half an hour. Then remove the foil and cut it into strips to wrap just around the edges of the pan, so that any noodles showing don't crisp too much in the oven, and bake another half hour. Let the casserole cool about ten minutes before slicing and serving.