Late Summer Lasagna Stacks

4 large or 8 smaller servings


Adapted from The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation

click to enlarge

No baking required.

Grilled, marinated summer squash gets layered with a basil-laced cheese filling, noodles, and fresh, ripe tomatoes. Prepare all the components well in advance and assemble the stacks on a platter or on individual plates just before serving. After a brief heat-up in the microwave or broiler, the lasagna is ready to serve. Bonus: no pan to wash afterwards.

• I’ve divided this recipe into two parts, to make it easier to follow.

• Make sure the tomatoes are very fresh, yet still firm. After you cut them, juice will accumulate in the bowl as they sit. Save this as a delightful sop for fresh bread.  Or just drink it.

PART 1 (Can be done well ahead of time)

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the pan

1 teaspoon red or white wine vinegar

½ teaspoon minced or crushed garlic

½ teaspoon salt (or more to taste)

Dried thyme

Dried rosemary, crumbled

1 pound small (4- to 6-inch) zucchini and/or summer squash, cut into ¼ inch-thick circles

Black pepper

Kernels from 1 ear of fresh, sweet corn

3 tablespoons grated or shredded Parmesan


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound ripe tomatoes

½ teaspoon salt

Nonstick cooking spray (optional)

8 lasagna noodles (about ½ pound)

1 pound whole-milk ricotta

Up to 6 tablespoons basil pesto (store-bought or homemade)

Black pepper

¼ cup grated or shredded Parmesan

10 or more fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips (optional)

    PART 1

    1) Combine the oil, vinegar, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt in a large, shallow bowl. Whisk to blend and place near the stove.

    2) Set a ridged grill pan or a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, brush it lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with a little thyme and rosemary. Place the zucchini slices on the hot, herbed surface in a single layer and cook on medium-high on both sides until browned and just tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper as it cooks. When tender and golden, transfer the cooked squash directly to the marinade, spreading it out so all surfaces can get flavor exposure. Sprinkle with 1 ½ tablespoons Parmesan while it is still warm. (You will likely need to cook the zucchini in several shifts.)

    3) Without cleaning it, heat the pan again, brushing with a touch more oil if necessary. Toss in the corn and more of the herbs; cook for just a minute or two. Scrape the corn and all the flavor from the pan into the marinating squash and toss to coat. Add the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons Parmesan, season with more salt and pepper, if desired, and set aside to marinate for up to an hour— and ideally, for several. (If it’s going to be much longer and your kitchen is hot, cover the bowl and refrigerate until it’s time to assemble the lasagna.)

    PART 2

    1) Fill a large pot with water, add the oil, and bring to a boil.

    2) Core the tomatoes and cut them into small (¼-inch) dice. Transfer them to a bowl, sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the salt, cover, and set aside.

    3) Lay out a towel on a counter near the sink, or spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Add the noodles to the boiling water, using a dinner knife or something similar to swish in a gentle slicing motion between and among them, to prevent their sticking together. Boil for exactly 7 minutes, then carefully drain the noodles in a colander. Immediately use tongs or a pasta gripper to gently lift them out, laying them flat in a single layer on the waiting towel or baking sheet.

    4) Combine the ricotta and pesto (to taste) in a medium-large bowl. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste.

    5) To assemble the lasagna, have ready four or eight broiler proof plates. Place a noodle — long, or cut shorter (or in half, if going for 8 servings) with scissors—on each, then spread it with about a tablespoon of the ricotta. Add spoonfuls of the vegetable mixture and the tomatoes, then repeat with a second tier. (Don’t worry if things tumble down—that’s part of the charm.) 

    6) Sprinkle with the Parmesan and then microwave each stack on high power for about 1 minute (until just heated through), or broil to heat through and brown the top. Serve hot or warm, topped with strips of fresh basil leaves.


About Mollie Recipes Books Press Kit Contact Us