For someone who travels a lot, you think I'd get plenty of r&r but I've learned that I need to plan my vacation or it just never happens. This week in Positano was months in planning and couldn't have been more magical. The cell service was horrid and the wifi weak so I shifted priorites to hanging with friends, exploring the Amalfi coast, and eating every last bite of seasonal produce, and having absurdly long alfresco lunches.
Those sort of lazy summer lunches with friends are something I look forward to all year so I put don't want to spend one second more than needed in the kitchen and this summer I've been really into this zucchini lasagna. It's inspired by my clean eating go-to spot at home, Beaming Cafe, but I added ricotta to make it just a bit more indulgent. This, a glass of crisp white wine, and a good group of friends and you're pretty much winning at vacation.
ends trimmed and peeled and coarsely grated
Trim then ends off the zucchini then carefully slice the zucchini lengthwise with a mandoline or sharp knife into 1/8-inch thick planks. Salt the zucchini then place in a fine mesh seive set inside a bowl and set aside for at least 5 minutes. Before using, pat the zucchini planks with paper towels to remove any liquid.
Bring an inch of water to a simmer in a pot then add a steamer insert and steam the spinach until it is just wilted. Remove and set aside until ready to use. Squeeze any excss moisture out of the spinach and then finely chop it.
Meanwhile, for the sauce, combine the roasted bell peppers, tomato paste, roasted tomatoes, garlic, and vinegar in a food processor fitted with an S-blade. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, process until smooth then taste and adjust flavor as needed.
Combine the ricotta with the lemon zest, a drizzle of oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Stir in the chopped spinach and set aside. For the lasagna, line a 9-inch-by-5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap and let a few inches hang off the sides. Divide the zucchini slices into 5 even piles and the ricotta spinach mixture in half. Stir all the carrots into the pepper puree then divide in half.
To assemble the lasagna, tile 1/5 of the zucchini on the bottom of the pan (put your prettiest slices here because it will become the top of the lasagna). Add half of the red pepper carrot mix and spread evenly then evenly scatter half of the quinoa. Tile 1/5 of the zucchini slices then spread one half of the ricotta spinach mixture. Repeat this all again to make two more complete layers. To finish the lasagna, top with the last 1/5 of the zucchini slices and gently press to make sure the lasgana adheres.
Close the plastic wrap over the lasagna and refrigerate until it's well set, at least 2 hours. To serve, unwrap the bit of plastic then place a rimmed serving plate on top. Hold the plate to the loaf pan then invert and unmold the lasagna. Pull off the plastic wrap, top with the pine nuts and serve.