Confetti Vegetable and Goat Cheese Lasagna
Serves: 8 to 10
This large, colorful lasagna shows off the bounty of garden vegetables! Although it is a bit of a project, it is rewarding to make for a large party or potluck or even for a week’s worth of meals. It can also be cut up into sections after baking and cooling, wrapped tightly, and frozen for future use.
3½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for lasagna dish and pans
3 red bell peppers
3 yellow bell peppers
3½ teaspoons salt
3¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 medium zucchini (about 1 pound), cut into ½-inch cubes
2 medium yellow summer squash (about 1 pound), cut into ½-inch cubes
2 Italian eggplants (about 1½ pounds) cut into ½-inch cubes
16 ounces lasagna pasta sheets (can use no-boil)
1 pound spinach
1 pound Rawson Brook chèvre or other soft goat cheese
3 pounds ricotta
1 to 2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 ounces fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced (about 1 cup firmly packed)
2 ounces fresh basil, minced (about 1 cup firmly packed)
2½ cups grated Asiago (about 7½ ounces)
Tomato or pasta sauce, to ladle over finished lasagna (optional)
Move a rack to the top of the oven and preheat the broiler. Lightly oil a deep 10-by-15-inch or similarly sized baking dish and set aside. Lightly oil or line with foil two or three rimmed half sheet pans and set aside.
Core and seed the bell peppers and cut into quarters. Toss them in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Place the pepper pieces, skin side down, on one prepared half sheet pan and sprinkle evenly with 1 teaspoon of the salt, and ½ teaspoon of the black pepper. Turn the pepper pieces over so that they are skin side up and slide the baking sheet into the oven near the top, as close to the broiler as possible. Crack the oven door to watch as they roast. Allow the skins of the peppers to blacken and crack, but do not let the flesh burn. Move the peppers around on the baking sheet, if necessary, to provide exposure to the heat. This should take 15 to 20 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the peppers to a brown paper bag, and close the top of the bag to allow the peppers to steam inside while the other vegetables are roasting. (Be sure to place the bag on something to catch any juices that soak through.)
Move the rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Place the zucchini and yellow squash cubes in the same large bowl as for the peppers and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and ½ teaspoon of the black pepper. Spread onto a separate (or first, if using only 2 pans) prepared half sheet pan.
Place the cubes of eggplant into the same large bowl and toss with 1½ teaspoons of the olive oil, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and ¼ teaspoon of the black pepper. Spread on a separate prepared rimmed half sheet pan. Roast both sheets of vegetables for 15 to 20 minutes, until soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets.
To skin the peppers, transfer from the paper bag to a cutting board, and using your fingers and a small sharp knife, peel the skins off of the flesh. Discard the skins. Cut the peeled peppers into ½-inch dice and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain, rinse, and set aside. Be sure to place a clean dish towel or parchment paper between the layers of lasagna noodles so they do not stick together. (If using no-boil pasta, skip this step.)
Meanwhile, wilt the spinach. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering and fragrant. Working in batches if necessary, add the spinach to the skillet and toss gently with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Turn frequently with tongs until the spinach is uniformly wilted. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. Wrap the spinach in paper towels and squeeze out any excess moisture. Chop coarsely.
Combine the goat cheese, ricotta, garlic, parsley, basil, and 2 teaspoons of black pepper in a large bowl and beat until smooth with an electric mixer, or use a countertop blender on a low speed. Fold in the chopped spinach until the mixture is fully combined. Set aside.
Lower the oven temperature to 350°F. Divide the lasagna sheets equally to make 3 layers. Begin assembling the lasagna in the oiled baking dish by starting with a layer of pasta on the bottom, overlapping each piece of pasta slightly and trimming away any excess to fit neatly in the pan. Spread about a third of the ricotta mixture evenly over the pasta, with ½ cup of the Asiago on top.
Spread the zucchini and yellow squash evenly over the top of the cheeses. Layer more pasta sheets over the zucchini and yellow squash, overlapping the pasta slightly and trimming away any excess so it fits neatly over the previous layer. At this point, press gently down on the lasagna to compress the layers evenly together. Spread another third of the ricotta mixture over the pasta and top with an even sprinkling of ½ cup of the Asiago.
Scatter the eggplant evenly on top of the cheese. Add another layer of pasta, followed by another gentle compression. Some pieces of pasta may remain unused, depending on the exact size of the baking dish. Spread a final layer of ricotta over the pasta, followed by an even sprinkling of ½ cup of Asiago. Spread the roasted peppers over the top, mixing the reds and yellows together like confetti. Top with the final cup of Asiago sprinkled evenly over the top.
Cover the pan loosely with foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Depending on the depth of your pan, you may want to place a rimmed sheet pan underneath to catch any dripping. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the cheese on top becomes slightly golden, the vegetables are soft, and the pasta is sufficiently cooked (if using no-boil). Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving. Offer tomato or pasta sauce alongside the lasagna, if desired, to add tomato flavor and moisture.
Excerpted from The Berkshires Farm Table Cookbook. Copyright 2020 by Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner. Reproduced by permission of The Countryman Press. All rights reserved.