No, this isn’t a vegetarian recipe…not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m aiming to get more veggies into my meals though, and so I came up with this layered lasagne that replaces some of the pasta with zucchini and eggplant.
Serves 4-8 (depending on your preferred serving size)
500g lean beef mince
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
400g jar of pasta sauce (I like Paul Newman’s classic bolognese)
1 sachet (50g) tomato paste
1 cup water
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1 medium zucchini, sliced thinly
1 medium eggplant, sliced thinly*
4 large sheets of pasta (instant)
2 tbs finely grated parmesan
Heat a large non-stick pan and add half the oil. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes or until onion becomes transparent. Add the mince and stir, breaking up any lumps, until browned. Add pasta sauce, tomato paste, water and basil, stir well and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, until the sauce is a good consistency (not too runny, not too dry).
While the sauce is reducing, heat a griddle/grill plate (or another non-stick pan if you don’t have one) and brush it with the extra olive oil. Grill the sliced zucchini and eggplant on both sides till lightly browned and cooked through. You can do this on a BBQ too.
Spread a thin layer of the sauce over the base of a rectangular baking dish, about 28cm x 18cm. Top with two sheets of pasta, then a third of the remaining sauce. Top with the eggplant slices, then a third of the sauce, then two more sheets of pasta and the remaining sauce. Place the zucchini slices over the top, then spread the ricotta as evenly as possible. Sprinkle with parmesan.
Cover with foil and bake at 180C for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until pasta is cooked through.
Stats for one-eighth of the whole kaboodle:
*If your eggplant is large, you will need to salt it before cooking, to remove any bitterness. Something like this. Allow extra time for this, it needs about 20 minutes or so.