Zucchini Walnut Lasagna


There is a part of me which wishes to call this “Midwestern Lasagna”, but as that name may bring images of a lasagna made entirely of pork and corn, I’ll stick with “Zucchini Walnut Lasagna”. When I first ran across this recipe in a very old cookbook, I thought…NO WAY. But Good Lord, it’s August in Indiana so it’s raining zucchini ’round here. People get so desperate, they just lob their extras at strangers’ doorsteps. We make bread, we fry the stuff, we roast it, balsamic on the grill…you can never go through it all. So in the spirit of “eating the now”, I had to try it. I modified it to suit my style, and I share with you my version of:

Zucchini-Walnut Lasagna

4 small or 2 medium zucchini

4 tsp olive oil

2 cups finely chopped onions (yes, this is a lot, but the flavor is needed)

1.5 cups finely chopped carrots

4 cloves of garlic, minced

About 30-32 oz of chunky tomato pasta sauce

1 tsp dried basil, crushed

1/8 tsp black pepper

6 oz-8 oz of shredded mozzarella

1/3 cup shredded Parmesan

6-8 oz of Pancetta

No boil lasagna noodles (I used about 9)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

(1) Trim zucchini and slice lengthwise into 1/8th inch strips. I ended with 12 strips, but I could have used more. A mandolin slicer will save you on this task. Barely brush with olive oil and broil on a cookie sheet in a single layer for about 4 minutes each side. Cool.

(2) Heat 3 tsp of olive oil in a deep skillet or large saucepan, and cook the onions, carrots, and garlic. At about the 4 minute mark, add in the Pancetta. At minute 5, add in the pasta sauce, basil, and pepper. Stir. Bring to a boil, then simmer with a lid on for 10 minutes.

(3) Mix cheeses and set aside.

(4) Layer in a greased lasagna baking dish: Noodles then 1/3rd  of the sauce, sprinkle 1/3  of the nuts, 1/3 of the zucchini, followed by some cheese. Repeat twice, alternating the direction of the zucchini and finish with zucchini. Set aside remaining cheese.

(5) Bake at 350, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove cover, top with remaining cheese, bake for an additional 20 minutes. Let it stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

Sara’s first quote was intense, “WHY? WHY DO YOU RUIN ALL FOOD BY STUFFING IT FULL OF VEGETABLES? You could RUIN CANDY. Would you? Would you, Momma? Would you fill candy with your green vegetables?! UGH! A perfectly good lasagna…RUINED.”

Greg sent her directly to her room, because…DUDE, hormones and hunger do not mix.

She joined us and proceeded to eat 2 gigantic pieces of this “ruined” lasagna. As it turns out, these flavors mesh. I do not love the texture of zucchini, and I especially do not like carrots in my pasta sauce. But sometimes, things just work out when you throw them together. You gotta keep trying…to ruin dinner with green stuff. Godspeed my friends.