Inspired by a trip to Aix-en-Provence, this light lasagna is made from layers of eggplant, zucchini, peppers, onions, and whole garlic cloves roasted with olive oil and herbes de Provence, layered with sun dried tomato sauce, fresh pasta sheets, and a topping of fresh herbs, mozzarella, and nutty parmesan. The playful kick of dried chilies and fresh mint give it some originality and personality. A perfect dinner.
Note: The pasta is used in three 10 1/2- by 8-inch layers to fit a small rectangular baking dish. You can use a different shaped vessel, but make sure to have enough pasta in the right size to form three complete layers. If fresh pasta sheets are unavailable, substitute no-boil style store-bought lasagna noodles soaked in hot water for ten minutes and dried on paper towels.
- 7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
- 1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), sliced into 1/8th to 1/4-inch planks
- 1 large zucchini (about 3/4 pound), sliced into 1/8th to 1/4-inch planks
- 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into thick strips
- 1/4 large red onion, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
- 12 cloves garlic, in their jackets
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 batch marinara sauce, or 1 (28-ounce) can store-bought marinara sauce
- 6 fresh homemade or storebought lasagna sheets, about 4- by 10-inches each (see note)
- 6 sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
- 1/4 cup water
- 15 leaves of fresh basil
- 10 leaves of fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 5 1/2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 450°F. On a wide rimmed baking sheet, mix 6 tablespoons of olive oil with the chili flakes, and herbes de Provence. Toss the eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, onions, and garlic in the olive oil mixture until well coated and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on two baking sheets. Roast until vegetables are softened and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Peel the paper off the garlic and discard. Lower the oven to 350°F.
Assemble the lasagna in a 10- by 8 1/2-inch rectangular baking dish. Spread half a cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of the dish. Arrange one layer of lasagna sheets on the sauce, trimming as necessary so you have a single layer of noodles. Top with another 1/2 cup of sauce. Arrange half of the vegetables and garlic cloves in a single layer on the lasagna sheets. Add another layer of pasta. Top with another 1/2 cup of sauce. Top with the chopped sun dried tomatoes. Layer the second and final layer of vegetables and garlic. Top with the final layer of pasta. Top with the remaining marinara sauce. Add the water to the marinara sauce jar, shake up, and pour over the lasagna. Gently press everything down to ensure that all the pasta is coated in liquid.
Top the lasagna with a layer of fresh herbs, then a layer of mozzarella, followed by a layer of Parmesan. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the baking dish in foil, and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly. Take the foil off the lasagna, and turn the oven back up to 450°F. Bake for another 5 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
Allow the lasagna to sit for 5 minutes and cool slightly. Cut into 4 squares and serve.