I can see some of you raising your eyebrows. You might be thinking what is this classic Italian dish doing in this blog. I am sure I will forget this recipe after few days if I don’t note it down somewhere. If I write in a book, I am sure I am going to loose it. So I felt this is the best place to save this recipe and such others which I keep experimenting.
Well, my husband and I have become a great fan of Italian cuisine. I first tasted it in San Diego 5 years ago when I was on a business trip. Our client manager, Vijay took us to this fabulous Italian restaurant and I simply loved whatever I ate there. Since my colleague, with whom I stayed there, didn’t like it, we could never go back to that restaurant. Then one day Vijay got us a big batch of vegetable lasagna which his wife had cooked for us. Needless to say, I alone ate that whole batch. It was amazingly delicious. I wanted to learn the dish from his wife, but there were too many hurdles to talk to her and get the recipe. But I never forgot the taste of the lasagna I had tasted.
So when we moved to Kansas in 2006, I always kept on telling my husband to take me to some Italian restaurant to eat lasagna. He is not a big fan of this dish, so whenever we went to Italian, we ordered something else. But on valentine’s day, I insisted on eating this. I asked him to eat whatever he wants and I ordered this dish. Two bytes into this and I was totally disappointed. He was relishing on his chicken amelfi, he had that look on his face, and I knew he was thinking, “I told you not to take that, but you didn’t listen. I am totally enjoying my amelfi”. So that was the end of lasagna for me, I had decided never to try it again, unless I happen to meet Vijay and his wife and she offers to make this for me, which looked highly impossible.
Then I saw a recipe request for this and I thought I have to give this dish a last chance. So I bought oven ready lasagna sheets. I referred pizzas and pastas by Tarla Dalal for the red sauce and modified it according to what I know about this dish. Then I remembered the white sauce recipe which I had seen in a TV show. I knew ricotta cheese is added to the lasagna. The final result was too good to believe. My husband who didn’t want to taste it before thoroughly enjoyed it. This may not be the authentic recipe, but I can assure, you will love this.
The first time I used a big baking pan, so the layers did not come out well. So second time I used a bread loaf pan and it was best suited for this.
1 cup sliced eggplants
1 cup slices zucchini
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup tomato ketchup
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tea spn chopped garlic
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 tbl spn all purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 tbl spn butter
Heat olive oil, add garlic and onion. When onion turns translucent, add eggplant, zucchini and cook on a low flame till they are little soft. Now add tomatoes, salt and cook till the tomatoes are slightly soft. Pour tomato ketchup, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and mix well. Switch off the heat after 2-3mins.
In a separate pan, heat butter and add all purpose flour, keep mixing to avoid lumps. Add milk and mix. When the milk boils, add 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, salt and mix well till the cheese melts and sauce thickens.
In a rectangular baking pan, line up aluminum foil. Cover the base with lasagna sheets. (Follow the instructions on the packet. Since I used oven ready sheets, I did not cook them before baking).
Pour a layer of red sauce. Arrange some pieces of ricotta cheese and then pour white sauce on top.
Repeat this (sheets-red sauce-cheese-white sauce)till all the sauce is evenly distributed. On the top, cover with lasagna sheets. Pour remaining white sauce on top. Spread some parmesan cheese. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. (if this step becomes loose, the sheets fall apart when you take it out). Now bake in oven (along with foil) for around 45mins to 1hr at 350F. Check if the sheets have become soft.
Serves : 2
Preparation time : 1 hr 15mins