Ok, maybe a little Italian too. Let it be known that my husband loves lasagna. Me, not so much. I make it every once in a while for him, but since I’m trying to watch carbs, it’s a little much. So, tonight I’m using veggies as my “pasta”. Generally speaking, we often think of lasagna as an Italian dish, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s what’s so fun about cooking. You can play around and make dishes your own. I’m putting a Greek spin on my lasagna with the addition of feta (and some other tricks). Bust out your mandolines and let’s go.
I’m going to start with the sauce because this is something that you will want to cook for a few hours.
1 vidalia onion, chopped
1 handful of sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 handful of sliced oyster mushrooms
1 handful of sliced shitake mushrooms
2 cloves crushed garlic
4 chicken feta spinach sausage, casings removed (I get these from Burritt’s, a local butcher in TC. Now I have tried store versions of other chicken feta sausage and it’s not even close. Unless you live in TC, you will want to sub with ground white meat chicken, some feta, a little spinach, and some spices….granulated garlic, onion powder, pepper, etc.)
1/4-1/2 cup marsala wine (I probably used a little less than 1/2 cup)
1 jar of Mezzetta Artichoke Marinara (totally make your own marinara from scratch if you want, I didn’t have enough herbs to make the sauce tonight, boo!)
1-2 oz of fresh grated parm (please, I beg you, don’t use the stuff in the green can, the taste difference is night and day)
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of cinnamon
Crushed red pepper flake to taste
1-2 TBSPN butter
In a large frying pan (and I say frying pan versus saute pan because frying pans are deeper) over medium-high heat, sweat out the onions and mushrooms in the butter until onions are soft and translucent. Add the crushed garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant (about 30 seconds to a minute). Add the chicken feta spinach sausage and cook until chicken is no longer pink. When sausage is cooked through, add the wine, marinara, and spices. Stir and turn the heat down to low and cover. Check on the sauce every now and then. Cook for at least a few hours as the longer you cook it, the more enhanced the flavors become. Take the lid off for the last 30 minutes of cooking and add the parm at this point. If the sauce is too thin, add a small can of tomato paste and adjust for seasoning.
Tick tock, tickity tock…….ok, now it’s time to prep the “pasta”
Eggplant And Zucchini Pasta
1 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise
1 large zucchini, sliced lengthwise
Egg Whites (or eggbeaters or eggs with yolk and all, doesn’t really matter, I used egg whites to be health conscious)
Italian Breadcrumbs (eyeball the amount, you just need enough to lightly coat the eggplant and zucchini. Start with 1/2 cup maybe)
Olive oil for sauteing
Set up a dredge station with egg whites and Italian breadcrumbs.
Cover a large cookie sheet with some aluminum foil.
With the mandoline slicer, slice the eggplant and the zucchini lengthwise. I used the 3 mm plate. If you are slicing by hand, you want it fairly thin, but not so thin that it will turn to mush when sauced. You do not need to peel either, but do cut off the ends first.
Dip the slices into the egg white and then the breadcrumbs. Lay out on cookies sheet until ready to saute.
In a few TBSPN of olive oil, saute the eggplant and the zucchini until golden brown on both sides. Set aside until ready to use.
Now we need to mix up the filling
Ricotta and Feta Cheese Filling
1, 15 oz container of ricotta
3 oz feta
3 oz fresh grated parm
1 package (I think they are 10 oz) of frozen spinach, thawed
1 TBSPN granulated garlic
pinch of nutmeg
Sea salt to taste
Red pepper flake to taste
Drain the thawed spinach until all the liquid has been squeezed out. In a large bowl, mix together the drained spinach with all remaining ingredients until everything is well incorporated.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
It’s layering time!
In a 13 x 9 baking dish (or a lasagna pan), put a thin layer of sauce to hold the “pasta” in place. Put a layer of eggplant, grate some fresh parm over the eggplant, a layer of sauce, and a layer of the cheese filling. Then put a layer of zucchini,grate some fresh parm over the zucchini, a layer of sauce, and a layer of cheese. Repeat until all eggplant and zucchini is gone. The final layer should be sauce. Cover with some shredded mozzarella and provolone cheeses and grate some more fresh parm over the top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for an additional 15 minutes until the cheese turns golden and bubbly.
Let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.