Field of Science

Seared fruit lasagna

OK, almost forgot that you all were promised a new recipe that the Phactors recently worked out.  The major innovation is searing the fruits.
Ingredients: 6-8 tsp olive oil; 6 cups peeled diced eggplant; 1 medium zucchini, diced; ½ cup chopped green pepper;
1 pound fresh portabella mushrooms, diced;
1 small onion, chopped; 2 cloves garlic, minced; 28 oz can Italian tomatoes, chopped w. juice; 1 bay leaf; 2 tsp oregano; salt & pepper; 16 oz ricotta cheese; 2 eggs, beaten;
½ cup parsley chopped; ¼ tsp salt; 12 sheets no boil lasagna noodles; 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese; ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese.

Instructions: Using 1 tsp of olive oil for each the zucchini & pepper, mushrooms, and eggplant, sear the diced fruits (yes, these are fruits or fruiting bodies) separately and in one layer, on high heat until a bit of browning occurs on the surfaces and corners.  A non-stick pan is almost essential.  Set the seared fruits aside. 
Saute the onion & garlic in 1 tsp of olive oil.  When transparent and softened, add chopped tomato & juice then bay leaf, oregano, salt & pepper to taste.  Simmer until thickened.  Combine with seared fruits.
Combine ricotta cheese, eggs, parsley, and salt.  Oil a 9x12” baking dish.  Put a scanty layer of the sauce/fruit mix in the bottom.  Cover with 4 sheets of lasagna noodle.  Spoon about 1/3d of the ricotta cheese over the noodles.  Top with about 1/3 of the sauce mixture.  Sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese.  Repeat the noodle, ricotta, sauce, & mozzarella layer twice more.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 F for 50 min.  Uncover and sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese.  Return to oven bake for another 5-10 min.   

Notes: Searing the fruits dehydrates them, intensifies their flavors, and makes them denser.  The resulting lasagna will be less runny and richer in flavor.

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