I Had a Dream

(Of Summer Squash)

  • Chef Ann News
  • August 07, 2015
  • By: Mara Fleishman
  • Comments

It’s rare that I can actually remember my dreams but when my eyes sprung open at 5 a.m. the other morning my dream was vivid and memorable. In fact, it felt more like a vision, coming to me as clear as day. It was so simple, but yet slightly complex…It was a summer squash recipe. 

Having planted my biggest garden yet, I could really see that the summer squash was taking over, and it was PRODUCING! I surveyed the crop with pride.  My son and I go to the garden every day (it’s part of a community plot through our local NGO, Growing Gardens) and we water and harvest what’s available. For the last 4 days we have taken home giant summer squash, each one bigger than the last. As they started to crowd my countertop I felt myself getting more anxious. What could I possibly make with this much summer squash? I poured through recipes and nothing jumped out at me. I needed one that used a LOT of summer squash, and it seemed all the ones I found only called for 1 small-medium squash.  

My subconscious kept working on my squash problem long after my conscious brain had given up and gone to bed.  The answer came to me in a dream. I woke up with a plan, went to work, went to the grocery store, got my dream ingredients, and made the dish.  Was this a recipe delivered to me by a higher being? Probably not, but then again, it was REALLY good. My entire family couldn’t get enough of it, that’s three kids spanning 4 – 14, a hungry husband, and a new puppy. Also in attendance at the squash feast were my sister and my good friend, who too enjoyed the dish immensely. So, I give you my summer squash dreams…. Happy gardening!

Summer Squash Lasagna

Ingredients:

2-3 medium to large summer squash
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
10-12 thin slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
15 oz (1 package) of ricotta cheese
10-12 slices of bacon
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
16 oz if diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
Fresh or frozen spinach (quantity depends on how much you like spinach)
salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
(1) 9x13 glass baking dish
(1) baking sheet

Prep:

  1. Pre-heat oven to broil (you could also use the grill for this)
  2. Slice summer squash into 1-1 1/2 inch thick slices
  3. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet
  4. Lay the summer squash slices down on the sheet
  5. Lightly spray or drizzle olive oil on the squash, then salt and pepper them. Turn them over and repeat
  6. Place the squash on a middle rack in the oven and watch them carefully. After about 6-8 min bring them up to the top rack 1-2 minuets to brown them.  Flip the squash and return to the top rack and again watch for 1-2 minutes. Remove when browned. You will likely have to repeat this with a second sheet of squash.
  7. Cook the bacon until crispy, break it into pieces and set it aside
  8. Lower oven temp to 350 

Putting Together the Lasagna: ​

  1. Place a layer of the squash at the bottom of your baking dish
  2. Using half of the ricotta, spread a layer over the squash
  3. Using half of the parmesan, sprinkle over the ricotta
  4. Cover the ricotta and parmesan with a dense layer of spinach
  5. Lay 6 of the thin slices of the fresh mozzarella over the spinach
  6. Drain diced tomatoes and sprinkle half over the spinach
  7. Sprinkle half the fresh basil over the tomatoes
  8. Sprinkle half the shredded mozzarella over the tomatoes
  9. Sprinkle half the crumbled bacon over the mozzarella
  10. Repeat steps 1-9 for a second layer
  11. Bake for 25-35 minutes

Considerations: 

  • Using fresh spinach will create some liquid at the bottom of the dish, but I don’t mind because I love the fresh ingredient for this dish. If you want less or no liquid, you can pre-cook the spinach or use thawed frozen spinach and squeeze out the liquid before layering
  • If you tend to like more salt in your dishes, you can salt each layer of the lasagna lightly
  • If you are a garlic lover you can dice 2-3 cloves, sautée and add to the ricotta before spreading it
  • While I chose to broil, you can easily grill the summer squash to get a nice charred flavor
  • There are three cheeses in this recipe but I really tried to use them sparingly. The idea is to let the veggie flavors come through

 

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