Cathy Best

Cathy Best

Best of the Best

Website All you need to know about Donna Hay, http://www.donnahay.com.au

App “Donna Hay” magazine can be purchased and downloaded from the Food & Drink category of iTunes.

By Cathy Best

Aussie TV food personality, and author of 18 cookbooks, Donna Hay is an award-winning chef. She hosts Donna Hay, Fast, Fresh, Simple on Australia’s LifeStyle network. In addition to writing a weekly food column for newspapers in her native land, she’s editor of the bi-monthly publication, Donna Hay magazine. As Barnes & Noble’s top-selling international food magazine, I found Donna in print while lounging in their magazine aisle. OMG. Bought it, read it cover to cover, and discovered Australia’s culinary Dali Lama. Her recipes are uncomplicated; her flavors are not. I’ve become a Donna Hay aficionado. I can’t resist sharing this lasagna recipe.

This is the best vegetarian lasagna recipe ever and I’m not a vegetarian. I’ll even go so far as to say it’s better than the family meat sauce recipe. I think you’ll agree. You may find it necessary to ditch the meat sauce during pumpkin season.

Want to share the Best with Cathy? E-mail her at bestdiscovery@aol.com

Donna Hay’s Zucchini, Pumpkin and Ricotta Lasagna

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

1- 2 lb. Kent pumpkin, peeled and sliced into half-inch slices (You absolutely can not use canned pumpkin. I used a small pie pumpkin.)

1-2 Tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt and cracked pepper

5 cups ricotta

Half-cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, optional

Half-cup finely grated Parmesan

1- 15 oz. can petite-diced tomatoes

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 cup tomato puree

1/3 cup chopped basil leaves

6 fresh lasagna sheets trimmed

2 cups zucchini, thinly sliced

2 cups grated mozzarella

Directions Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the pumpkin on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, roast for 15-20 minutes until golden and tender. Set aside. Place the ricotta, parsley, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix to combine. Place the tomatoes, garlic, tomato puree and basil in a separate bowl and mix to combine. To assemble, line the base of a deep-sided 8-inch by 11-inch ceramic lasagna pan with two lasagna sheets. Top with 1 1/2 cups ricotta mixture, pumpkin slices, zucchini slices and spoon over 1 1/2 cups of tomato mixture to cover. Cover with another two lasagna sheets and repeat with remaining ingredients, finishing with the remaining lasagna sheets and ricotta mixture. Top with mozzarella, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking 30-40 minutes or until cooked through and the cheese is golden. This serves up beautiful perfect squares of savory layers.

Recipe alterations I made mine using Barilla brand; no boiling required–rolled flat lasagna. For a little extra, add 1/2 to 1 lb. of thick-sliced, smoked bacon, fried or baked, crumbled, and well-drained on paper towels, to the middle layer. Vegan it’s not; good it is. I’ve made it with and without the bacon, delicious both ways. To bind the ingredients, I like to add two beaten eggs to the ricotta mixture. It won’t hurt a thing if you use more or less than a 2 lb. pumpkin. You can substitute butternut squash or any other seasonal squash in lieu of pumpkin; I used 1/2 butternut and 1/2 pumpkin and tossed it in a bowl with the olive oil before placing on the roasting pan. You don’t want slices sticking to the pan. Parchment paper can be used to line the roasting pan. Lightly salt and pepper the zucchini when layering it in the pan. For just a hint of garlic flavor, I used garlic powder instead of crushed garlic. Roasted garlic would be delicious. Use fresh basil; this is not and option. I think that’s all the alterations… trust your taste buds.