Supper and the Single People (Or How to Make Zucchini Lasagna)

This recipe uses the same marinara sauce as the spinach manicotti I made earlier. Total time saver.

Even though I like to cook fairly elaborate dishes that include expensive ingredients, I’m always looking for ways to cut costs or make the dishes simpler to prepare. Sometimes that means cutting back on the more items expensive like the lobster in this seafood macaroni and cheese or making dishes I can freeze easily like this sausage and white bean dish. Other times it means repurposing an ingredient or an element of a dish.

This week, I used the same marinara sauce for two different dishes, and I will be freezing extra servings of both.

See, I have lived alone for more than ten years, so unless I’m throwing a dinner party for like 25 friends, I’m probably eating alone. Since I don’t like eating the same meal more than twice a week, this means the freezer is my friend.

What’s this about living alone? I have been keeping you company in the kitchen for like five years, lady. I don’t do it for the celery that sometimes falls from the counter either.

And if you really live alone, then who is this enormous animal using your pillow?

OK, point taken. I haven’t exactly lived alone for the last ten years, but it’s not like the dogs sit at the table for meals, though.

Oh, never mind. I’m losing this argument.

Let’s just get to the lasagna recipe.

It’s my aunt’s recipe and it probably came from a 1980s issue of Bon Appetit, but I can’t find any links to it online.

Zucchini lasagna

Marinara Sauce
(I made extra marinara when I made the spinach manicotti and saved it for the zucchini lasagna.)

4 T olive oil
1 C finely chopped onion
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery stalks
2-1 lb can diced tomatoes
4 T minced parsley
4 T tomato paste
1/2 C red wine
fresh basil, torn in small pieces
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic and cook until softened about 5-7 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, juice, parsley, tomato paste, wine, and half of the basil. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 45 minutes.

Add the remaining basil and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Filling

1/2 stick of butter
2 small zucchini, sliced into ¼” slices
1/2 lb crimini mushrooms cut into 1/4” slices
1/2 C whipping cream
4 T,  plus 1/2 C fresh grated parmesan
8 oz provolone cheese
salt and pepper

Lasagna noodles

Preheat oven to 450.

Cook lasagna noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside. (Or you can use the no cook noodles. Either works.)

Melt the butter in heavy skillet over high heat. Add zucchini and mushrooms to the butter and sauté until the zucchini are lightly browned. Reduce heat and stir in the cream. Cook until the mixture is reduced to a smooth consistency. Add 4 T parmesan, salt, and pepper and mix to blend.

Put a thin layer of marinara in the bottom of a 2.5 quart casserole dish. Next add a layer of noodles, followed by a layer of filling and a layer of cheese. Repeat the layers of marinara, pasta, filling and cheese. Top the stack with the remaining marinara sauce. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan.

Cover with foil and bake at 450 for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until the lasagna is bubbly and the cheese is lightly browned. Allow the lasagna to stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Note: If you wish to make a 9×13” pan, you will need to double the recipe and it may require additional baking time.

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