Whatever should one do with an overabundance of squash? What a wonderful dilemma! A lot of the summer and late fall varietals double as stand-ins for lasagna noodles and make for an excellent, gluten-free casserole. You can even add some eggplant to the party if you have some hanging around.
But beware - squash releases a lot of liquid. Because there are no noodles to absorb that excess moisture, we’re using tomato paste instead of the more traditional sauce. The highly concentrated flavor of the tomato paste works well with the juices released during cooking.
If you’re looking for a healthier version of this recipe, try cutting the cheese mixture in half. Add it only as the top layer to the casserole, using only alternating layers of squash with tomato paste and sauteed veggies in between as a base. You can also add arugula, spinach, or just about any other green along with the garlic to the pan when you’re sauteing your veggies. They’ll add a nice kick to the already flavorful filling!
2 summer squash
1 pattypan squash
1 medium eggplant (optional - use extra squash if not using)
2 6oz cans tomato paste
1 large onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper (or 5- small peppers), seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15oz tub ricotta cheese
1/2 cup cottage cheese (optional)
1 cup shredded mozzarella, separated
1 pastured egg
2-3 springs basil, chopped
1/2 cup parmesan, shredded
olive oil for cooking
salt and freshly cracked pepper
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Heat a skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add 2 TBS olive oil. Add onions and peppers and saute, stirring occasionally, until onions get glassy and fragrant. Add garlic and cook a few minutes more, being careful not to let the garlic brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Combine ricotta cheese, half the mozzarella, cottage cheese, egg, and basil in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, slice squash and eggplant into thin discs (3mm on a mandoline). For the pattypan, it’s often easier to cut the squash in half from the top and cut longer strips from the inside of the halves.
- Spread a tablespoon or two of tomato paste in the bottom of a medium sized casserole dish. Drizzle with a TBS olive oil. Top with 1/3 of the sauteed onions and peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange a single layer of squash on top of the sauteed veggies, making sure to overlap the pieces and arrange to the pan edge. Sprinkle more salt and pepper on top of the squash.
- Spread 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the squash, sealing in the edges, then add another squash layer. Continue in this manner, alternating between a layer of tomato paste and sauteed veggies with layers of cheese, arranging squash in between each (squash, cheese, squash, tomato paste & veggies, etc.). Season each squash layer with salt and pepper.
- End with the final layer of cheese on top. Cover with parchment paper and foil and cook for about an hour to an hour (depending on the thickness). Lasagna is done when a sharp knife inserted in the center meets no resistance. Top with remaining half cup mozzarella and parmesan and cook under broiler for 5-10 minutes until cheese is golden and bubbly.
- Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.