The zucchini are running! The zucchini are running! The zucchini are running!
That is probably only funny if you grew up where smelt fishing was a thing. Regardless, it’s zucchini season and we’re trying to use them up. Honestly, zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables and makes a great replacement for pasta or bread (zucchini pizza bites anyone?). That’s just what we’re doing here. But you can’t just switch out noodles for the zucchini and call it good. There is a little bit of prep.
You will need one piece of special equipment, either a spiralizer or a mandoline. Unless, of course, you’re super smooth with a knife and can make faux lasagna noodles with just a knife. I’m not that slick. I wore out my mandoline; but, what I created with my spiralizer was great and I actually enjoyed it more. But your call. There’s one extra ingredient if you use the spiralizer instead of a mandoline. But there’s one extra step if you use the mandoline. Again, your call.
Today, however, I’m going to only post the spiralizer recipe. If you want to know how to do it with the mandoline or knife, comment here and I’ll tell you. Otherwise, follow these steps.
- 1.5 lb Italian sausage (or use pork sausage and add Italian herbs or use tempeh or morningstar sausage crumbles)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28 oz can) crushed tomatoes (I had fresh from the garden so just chopped up until I had 2.5 cups worth)
- 6 oz. of tomato paste (I love the organic stuff in the tube)
- 4 tbsp chopped fresh basil (more if you like)
- black pepper, to taste
- 3 medium (8 ounces each) zucchini, sliced 1/8″ thick
- 1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta (or you can use full-fat cottage cheese)
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 large egg (I used a duck egg because that’s what I had on hand and how I roll)
- 16 to 24 oz sliced Provolone cheese
- 1 tblspn fresh chopped oregano
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- In a medium sauce pan, brown meat. When cooked drain in colander to remove any fat.
- Add olive oil to the pan and saute garlic and onions about 2 minutes. Return the meat to the pan, add tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer on low for at least 30 to 40 minutes, covered. Do not add water, you want this sauce thick
- Meanwhile, spiralize your zucchini on the largest setting your spiralizer has, lightly salt your z’asagna noodles and set aside for 10 minutes. Zucchini has a lot of water when cooked, salting it takes out a lot of moisture. If you’ve made eggplant Parmesan, it’s the same principle. After 10 minutes, blot excess moisture with a paper towel. Do not rinse the zucchini. Blot it. It takes a few minutes, but you have time. Your sauce is cooking.
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- In a medium bowl mix ricotta a/o cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese and egg. Stir well. Add the parsley, reserving one tablespoon.
- In a 9×12 casserole spread 1/2 cup of sauce on the bottom and layer the zucchini to cover. Spread 1/2 cup of the ricotta cheese mixture, then top with a think layer of provolone cheese (the cheese should not overlap, spread it out neatly) and repeat the process until all your ingredients are used up. The last layer top with remaining zucchini and sauce, and cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover the foil, then place the remaining slices of provolone cheese on top, and sprinkling with the last of the parsley. Bake 20 more minutes until you have bubbly, cheesy, vegetable goodness.
- Let stand about 5 – 10 minutes before serving.