On the premiere episode of Food for Thought with Claire Thomas, I toured the Venice Learning Garden with Garden Master and all around awesome person David King and got some home gardening tips from Garden Nerd Christy Wilhelmi. Laden with garden fresh zucchini, tomatoes, and basil, I set out to make a fresh lasagna with zucchini "pasta", roasted and fresh tomatoes, and a thick, savory pesto. Served up with a side of roasted garlic bread, this bright and delicious dish made for a simple dinner.
Garden Fresh Lasagna
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced in 9 slices (about the thickness of lasagna noodles)
2 large tomatoes, sliced about a 1/4 inch thick and cut in half
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup sliced basil
For the pesto:
1 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 F. Halve the cherry tomatoes and place them face up on a baking sheet lined with a silicone pad. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes until the tomatoes are juicy and slightly caramelized. Set aside. In a food processor combine the pine nuts, garlic, and parm until pasty. add the basil and big pinches of salt and pepper and while the food processor goes, drizzle in the olive oil. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
To assemble, on a large plate line three pieces of zucchini slightly overlapping. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of the pesto (enough to coat the zucchini) and cover with tomato halves. Add another layer of zucchini. Sprinkle the cherry tomatoes and top with 2 tablespoons of the basil. Top with another layer of zucchini, add the tomato slices, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and the remaining basil. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil
Other options: adding cheese, prosciutto, salami, using some of your other favorite vegetables and left overs (chicken breast, sauteed spinach, caramelized onion, roasted butternut squash, whatever suits your fancy).