Yesterday, was a day of wandering for me. I walked out of my home, down the street and then, hailed an auto rickshaw and mentioned my random destination. I got there 30 minutes later, walked into a grocery store, grabbed 2 zucchinis, 2 bunches of spinach and a box of lasagna. Honestly, even at that moment in time I was not sure if my purchase was going to be dinner last night. Anyway, came home with them and later in the day, decided it was going to be a kind of lasagna but not with lasagna sheets. Instead, I made it with wholegrain tortillas. Check out my Zucchini and Spinach Lasagna!
2 large Zucchinis, sliced with a mandolin into 1/4 inch thick slices
500 g Spinach, pick leaves only, wash and drain (do not dry these)
100 g Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 medium Red Onion, peeled and chopped
80 g unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
700 ml warmed milk
some freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper
4 pieces Wholegrain tortillas (or any kind of tortilla you like)
For this recipe, I used a square baking dish (8″ x 8″ x 3″). FYI, this particular dish was used because the tortilla I have in hand fits perfectly in it and the quantity for this recipe is ideal for the dish. If you want to serve more guests, double up the quantity and use an appropriate sized dish. This recipe is good for 4 persons.
First, get the zucchinis prepped. I used a mandolin with a thick slice option but if you have none, a knife will suffice. Slice them into 1/4 inch thick slices and place them in a colander and sprinkle salt over them generously to remove as much water as possible.
Next, place the spinach into a pot large enough to hold all of them. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and cook on high heat. Let the pot steam and check to see if the spinach has wilted but still green. Be sure not to overcook the spinach and let it brown. Once done, remove spinach from the pot and drain excess water. You can do this by placing it into a colander and run cold water over it, squeeze out the excess water with your hands. Then, chop the spinach.
Whilst you have the spinach going, grill the zucchinis in a pan that is lightly oiled. Work in batches. Sprinkle with some freshly ground pepper on every batch you grill. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan and place the zucchinis in a single layer. Turn them once and remove onto a plate once cooked. The result should be a softer and marrow-like consistency at this point. Continue grilling till all of them are done.
Then, melt the butter in a pot on low to medium heat and add the chopped onions. Sautee till soft but not browned. Add flour and mix well. At this point in time, keep stirring, turn the heat down to low and work fast. Add the warm milk in a slow stream whilst still stirring so it does not get lumpy. If the mixture dries up too fast, remove from heat, keep adding milk and continue stirring. You should get a nice, creamy and thick consistency sauce similar to a bechamel. Then, add the chopped spinach and mix well.
Now, preheat the oven to 220˚C. Assemble the lasagna by first placing a few dollops of the creamed spinach in the baking dish followed by a piece of tortilla. Then, place a single layer of grilled zucchinis, followed by the creamed spinach and 1/4 of the grated parmesan cheese. Continue this process till you have three layers of zucchinis and parmesan but also be sure you have enough creamed spinach for the final top layer. For the top layer, after placing the 4th piece of tortilla, top it with creamed spinach and the remaining parmesan cheese. Place the dish into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. At this time, the top should be golden brown and the sides are bubbling. Let it rest for 5 minutes and then, cut and serve!