This is a wonderful lasagna dish that tastes like a classic lasagna but without the noodles. The eggplant and zucchini are roasted and they replace the noodles.
It is important to have a deep-dish lasagna dish to prepare this wonderful lasagna.
2 large Eggplants, cut the ends off but leave the skin on, and slice lengthwise into ¼-inch slices
6 whole Zucchini, cut the ends off but leave the skin on, and slice ¼-inch thick length-wise
4-5 cups of Italian Red Meat Sauce (which you can easily access by clicking on that recipe title), or another favorite homemade or store-bought Red Sauce (such as a roasted garlic marinara, which would complement this dish nicely)
2-3 cups of Béchamel Sauce (which you can easily access by clicking on that recipe title)
3-4 cups of an Italian Cheese Blend, shredded
1 cup of Parmesan Cheese, grated
Cooking Spray with Olive Oil, or 2-3 tablespoons of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
(Optional: Add a layer of cooked Italian sausage or sliced meatballs; however, when I use the meat sauce, I do not do this because there is already meat in the sauce.)
Garnish for the Lasagna:
Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
Make the Italian Red Meat Sauce and the Béchamel Sauce and set them aside while the rest of this recipe is prepared. (If you are going to add the optional meat, prepare that in advance too.)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Layout a double layer of paper towels on a baking sheet and place a single layer of the eggplant on top of the paper towels. Place a double layer of paper towels on top of the eggplant, and then use a second baking sheet to press down on top of the eggplant to squeeze out some of the excess liquid. Repeat this process with all the eggplant and the zucchini. Then, set the eggplant and zucchini aside. Line the two baking sheets with parchment paper and place the eggplant slices on top of the parchment paper. Spray a very light spray of the cooking spray over the top of the eggplant (or, using a brush, brush the olive oil on the eggplant). Then sprinkle some salt and pepper over the eggplant.
Place the eggplant in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes. Then, remove the eggplant from the oven, place the baking sheets on a countertop, turn the eggplant slices over, and spray a very light spray of the olive oil cooking spray (or brush with a light coat of olive oil over the eggplant), and then sprinkle the eggplant with salt and pepper. Put the eggplant back into the oven for another 15-20 minutes. Remove the eggplant from the oven and let the eggplant come to room temperature.
Repeat the same process with the zucchini, using the same two baking sheets but letting them come to room temperature first. Line a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels and lay the zucchini in a single layer on the baking sheet. Place a double layer of paper towels on top of the zucchini, and then use the other baking sheet to press down and squeeze some of the excess liquid out of the zucchini. Once all the zucchini has been completed in batches, throw out the paper towels. Then, line the baking sheets with parchment paper, and lay the zucchini slices in a single layer on top of the parchment paper on the two baking sheets. Spray a very light spray of the cooking spray on the zucchini (or, using a brush, brush the olive oil on the zucchini) and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
Place the zucchini into the oven (note: the oven should still be at 425 degrees) and cook it for about 15 minutes. Remove the zucchini from the oven, turn the slices over, and spray a very light spray of the cooking spray over the zucchini (or, using a brush, brush a light coating of the olive oil onto the zucchini) and then sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Return the zucchini to the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove the zucchini from the oven after 15 minutes and set them aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Heat the red sauce and warm the béchamel sauce so that the lasagna is ready to be assembled.
Now, commence the assembly of the lasagna. There is a particularly important tip to making a great lasagna -- make sure that only a thin layer of sauce is used in each layer, so that the dish does not end up with too much liquid. In addition, expect there to be about 5-6 layers in the lasagna, so think in terms of using about 1/5th of your ingredients in each layer. In a deep-dish lasagna pan (measurements are normally 13.75 inches long, 9.75 inches wide and 4 inches deep), start with a light layer of the Italian Red Meat Sauce. Lay a single layer of the eggplant on top of the Italian Red Meat Sauce. If you are adding meat, layer that in next. Layer a thin layer of the Béchamel Sauce next, and then add a layer of zucchini. Next, add a layer of the Italian cheese blend. Repeat this process starting with a light layer of the Italian Red Meat Sauce, eggplant, (meat – optional), Béchamel Sauce, zucchini, and the Italian cheese blend. Repeat this for about 5-6 layers ending with a light layer of Italian Red Meat Sauce on top of the final layer of zucchini and then top with the remaining cheese. Place the lasagna into the oven and cook it for about 45 minutes. The lasagna should be bubbling. Remove the lasagna from the oven and let rest for about 10 minutes.
Cut and serve with a sprinkle of fresh parmesan cheese.