Tomatoes are in full bloom, a sign that summer is fading into chilly fall afternoons. This hearty lasagna, filled with summer squash and crisp heirloom tomatoes, is the perfect way to celebrate the last burst of summer’s produce.
As the last days of summer go by, the farmers markets are full of rich, flavorful tomatoes. At Santa Monica’s farmer’s market, Munack Farms offers customers a wide array of heirloom tomatoes, deep in flavor. Fans flock to bins full of bright yellow and red Pineapple tomatoes, tiny green and yellow striped Zebra Striped tomatoes, and deep red and yellow Brandywines. These tomatoes are so complex, they need little more that a simple seasoning of salt, pepper and olive oil. This lasagna goes one step ahead, highlighting the beautiful fruit in a squash and tomato sauce, artfully layered with pasta, squash and sliced tomatoes. A hearty meal, it’s the perfect way to celebrate the end of summer.
Tomato and Squash Lasagna
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 white onion, small diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 large squash, or zucchini, or a combination; 1 diced and the others cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 cans whole plum tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
4 large tomatoes of your choice; 1 diced and the others slice into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 bunch basil
160z ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Greek style yogurt
1 package no boil lasagna noodles
16oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp honey
1. Place a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of oil and allow to heat, for around 3 minutes. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until they become slightly translucent. Add the diced zucchini and cook until both are translucent. Add the tomatoes, and cook 2 minutes more. Using your hands, crush the whole plum tomatoes, being careful as the juices will squirt out. Pour in the tomatoes and tomato sauce, honey, and half of the basil bunch. Season well with salt and pepper and cover the pot. Allow to cook over medium low heat.
2. Place a heavy bottomed saute pan over medium high heat. In a bowl toss the squash slices with 2 tbsp oil and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Add the last tbsp of oil to the pan, and working in batches, saute the squash slices. The squash will begin to look translucent. Flip over and cook until the squash is sightly soft. Place on tray or plate, and saute the remaining pieces.
3. In a bowl, mix the ricotta, yogurt and eggs together. Season with salt and pepper. Chiffonade, or thinly slice, the remaining basil and add to cheese mixture.
4. Preheat the oven to 375. Spread a thin layer of cheese mixture onto the bottom of a 12×8 pyrex pan. Cover with dried noodles, carefully cutting to fit the entire pan. Spread a thin layer of the cheese mixture onto the noodles. Spoon a thin layer of tomato sauce on top of cheese. Lay the squash slices on top of sauce, covering the entire area. Top with a thin layer of shredded cheese.
5. Add a layer of noddles on top of shredded cheese. Top with thin layers of the cheese mixture and tomato sauce. Line the sliced tomatoes on top the sauce, covering the entire area. Top with mozzarella cheese. Repeat these steps to make a third layer with sliced tomatoes. Top tomatoes with shredded cheese and pasta noodles. For the top of lasagna, spread the remaining cheese mixture onto noodles, add a thin layer of tomato sauce, and cover with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
6. Bake for 45 minutes to one hour. Lasagna will be done when bubbling, cheese is golden brown, and sides are crisp. Remove from over and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Or allow to cool completely and freeze for later use.