San Fermo's delicious - and healthy - summer green lasagna

Co-owner of Ballard's new Italian restaurant shares family lasagna recipe
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San Fermo co-owner Tim Baker makes this gorgeous and green lasanga for his family, and we coaxed him into sharing it with us. This isn’t your traditional meaty lasagna, its light, summery, and all veggie. Also missing is the heavy roux based Bechamel sauce, but its cheesy, and filled with the light crunch of zucchini ribbons. You’ll never miss the meat. Make no mistake, this dish is a bit of work, but the ingredients pay dividends as components of other dishes, and a 9”x11” pan will feed a big group or provide leftovers for days. Baker recommends making larger batches of the pesto and marinara while you are at it, use them for other summer pastas, dressings and braises. For tools, you'll need 9”x11” 3 inch pan, or large dutch oven food processor or blender, an immersion blender is also helpful for the marinara kitchen mandolin or a slicer aluminimum foil.

Ingredients

2 cups Pesto – see sub recipe

1.5 cups Marinara – see sub recipe

6 smallish zucchinis

large bunch of arugula

48 oz tub, (3 lbs) ricotta

1 lb Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 lb Pecorino Romano Fresh pasta sheets for lasagna – enough for at least 4 layers in the pan you are using

Marinara

2 bunches of Italian parsley, course chopped

4 boxes of crushed or whole san marzano tomatoes, like Pomi, you’re going to blend the sauce later anyway

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

10 cloves of garlic

1 large yellow onion

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Chop onion and garlic, place in a bowl, chop parsley, place in a bowl, add olive oil to heavy bottom saucepot and bring up to medium/high heat. Add onion and garlic, sauté until translucent, add red pepper flakes., sauté for 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes, reduce heat to low, simmer softly for one hour. Add the chopped parsley, season with salt and pepper, and turn heat off. Blend the sauce - If you have an immersion blender you can blend the sauce right in the pot. If using a blender or food processor let it cool for a bit before blending. Remember to blend in small batches so it doesn’t fly out and scald you. Put in the refrigerator to cool.

Pesto

Make large batches of nettle pesto in the spring and freeze it for use all summer. You can also use arugula, basil, garlic scapes, pea vines, lovage, have fun with it.

4 cups of soft herbs zest and

juice of 1 lemon

1 cup of crushed pine nuts, or save some money by using with walnuts or almonds, roast the nuts first

1 cup extra virgin olive oil, add more as needed for the right consistency

1 cup grated pecorino romano

8 cloves garlic, if you use garlic scapes, half the garlic will suffice

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

In a food processor start with the greens, the garlic, the red pepper flakes and the lemon juice. Process while adding the olive oil. Add enough oil for a liquid consistency then add the nuts and pecorino to build a thick pesto. You can always add more oil.

Lasagna

Preheat oven to 325.  Mandoline the zucchini into thin ribbons, toss with half the pesto in a large bowl - set aside Grate hard cheeses and combine in a bowl – set aside Hand Blend ricotta with half of the pesto – set aside.  Drain the water that collects below the zuchini.  Ladle Marinara into the bottom of your pan. The sauce should just coat the bottom.  Place the first sheet down and begin layering in this order: Ricotta,  Arugula,  Zucchini,  Parm/pecorino.  Three generous layers between 4 sheets are what you are after, so work with your ingredients in thirds, except for the parm/pecorino, split that into 4 portions so you can top the lasagna with it. Be sure to save the best sheet for the final layer, it is important for the top sheet to completely cover the layers below. When you put your final sheet on, generously cover it in marinara and coat it with the rest of the parm/pecorino. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 90 minutes. Remove foil and increase the temperature to 375. Bake for 20-30 minutes more, broil in the last moments if you want a crisp top