Curtis Stone's Grilled Vegetable Lasagna
There's a reason why this Australian Celebrity Chef quickly became everyone's favorite cook! Now you can try his delicious healthier alternative to the classic Lasagna dish.
Ricotta and tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced (crushed)
- 5 large sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
- 2 cups (16 fl oz/500 ml) dry white wine
- 3 lb 14 oz (1.75 kg) ripe plum tomatoes
- Sliced Sea salt
- 1 cup (8 oz/225 g) full-cream ricotta cheese
- 1⁄2 cup very coarsely chopped fresh basil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium eggplant (aubergine) (about 1 lb 6 oz (625 g), stem end trimmed, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 in. (5 mm) thick rounds
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 zucchini (courgettes), sliced lengthwise into 1⁄4 in. (5 mm) thick rounds
- 2 red bell capsicums (peppers), cored, seeded, and quartered
To make the ricotta and tomato sauce
- Heat a large heavy pan over medium heat.
- Add the olive oil, then add the onions and garlic and fry, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are tender.
- Add the thyme, bay leaves, oregano, and chili flakes and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Add the wine, increase the heat to high, and boil for about 12 minutes, or until reduced by half.
- Stir in the tomatoes and season with salt.
- Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 50 minutes, or until the tomatoes are very tender and have broken down to form a chunky sauce.
To prepare the vegetables
- Arrange the eggplant slices on a baking tray and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt.
- Let stand for about 20 minutes, or until the salt begins to draw out moisture from the eggplant.
- Rinse the eggplant under cold running water, then drain well.
- Place on a dry baking tray and pat dry with paper towels.
- In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar and olive oil together and season with salt and pepper.
- Arrange the zucchini and capsicums on a large rimmed baking tray and brush both sides of the vegetables with balsamic mixture. Brush the remaining balsamic mixture over both sides of the eggplant slices.
- Transfer the vegetables to the grill, in batches if necessary, and grill until just tender and slightly charred, about 3 minutes per side for the eggplant and zucchini, and about 4 minutes per side for the capsicums.
- Return the vegetables to the baking trays as they are cooked and let cool.
- Cut the capsicums quarters in half.
- When the sauce is cooked, remove the pan from the heat, then remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme stems. Stir in the ricotta cheese.
- Purée half of the sauce in a blender.
- Return the puree to the sauce remaining in the pan and stir in the basil. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
- 12 dried lasagna sheets (about 12 oz/350 g)
- 4 cups (1 lb 2 oz/500 g) mozzarella cheese, shredded
To assemble the lasagna
- Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce over the base of a 12 x 9 x 2 in. (32 x 23 x 5 cm) baking dish.
- Place 4 uncooked lasagna sheets over the sauce, breaking them to fit (don't worry if there's space around the pasta, since they will expand as they cook).
- Place one-third of the grilled vegetables over the pasta, then spoon 1 1⁄2 cups of the sauce over the vegetables and sprinkle 1⁄3 of the mozzarella cheese over the sauce.
- Repeat layering the noodles, vegetables, sauce, and mozzarella cheese one more time.
- Top with the remaining 4 noodles, then spread with 1 1⁄2 cups of the sauce.
- Arrange the remaining vegetables on top.
- Spoon the remaining sauce over the vegetables.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove the foil and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the lasagna.
- Bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the lasagna is golden brown on top and heated through (if you insert a knife into the center of the lasagna for 10 seconds, it should feel hot after you pull it out).
- Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.
Now you can bring comfort and Hollywood glam to your table by trying this and other delicious recipes from Passion to Create: Your Invitation to Celebrate by Cheryl Cecchetto, President and Founder of Sequoia Productions.
In addition to producing 23 consecutive Emmy Awards Governors Ball events, Cecchetto has produced numerous entertainment industry events which featured these must-have recipes that we love!