This is the time of year when courgettes are in abundance. Courgettes on their own can be quite bland and yet every day blogs are posting new tasty ways of incorporating these vegetables into a variety of muffins, cakes, cookies and other baked goods. However I feel that this humble vegetable should not be completely overlooked in the more conventional savoury dishes too.
This carrot and courgette lasagne allows the courgettes soft texture and subtle sweetness to be the star of the show. All it needs is a little help from some herbs and spices to help bring them alive. It’s also an incredible easy and simple dish to put together and requires very little prep time making it the perfect mid week meal.
The courgettes are grated and paired with carrots which help enhance the courgettes savoury sweetness before being mixed with garlic, thyme and ricotta to produce a flavoursome creamy veg layer for your lasagne without the need for sauce making. This is then layered up with a simple tomato mix that has been spiked with a hint of chilli to give it some warmth and fresh lasagne sheets (shop bought unless your super organised) for a delicious speedy dinner.
I loved how the grated courgette kept its colour, showing flecks of bright green throughout the layers. It made it look very Italian amongst the white pasta and the red sauce. I’ll be making this one again before the courgettes seasons over.
Carrot, Courgette & Ricotta Lasagne
(Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food)
2 tsp fresh thyme
½ tsp chilli flakes or ground chilli
1 clove garlic
150g ricotta cheese
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper and herbs of choice
6 sheets fresh lasagne
Place the chopped tomatoes, passata, chilli and some herbs of your choice into a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow to bubble for 15-20 minutes until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside until required.
Coarsely grate the carrots and courgettes (there is no need to peel). Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the grated veg. Cook for 1 minute before crushing the garlic and adding to the pan along with the fresh thyme.
Cook until softened and most of the liquid released from the vegetables has evaporated. Remove from the heat and mix through the ricotta cheese.
Preheat the oven to 190C.
Spread a third of the veg ricotta mixture into the base of a 30cmx20cm ovenproof dish. Spread over a quarter of the tomato and lay 2 sheets of the lasagne on top.
Top with another third of veg, another quarter of tomato and 2 more sheets of lasagne. Repeat for the final layer and then use the leftover tomato sauce to spread on top of the last lasagne sheets. Grate over a little cheese of your choice and bake for 25-30 minutes until the lasagne is bubbling and crisp around the edges.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving with salad.