This is not your grandmother's lasagna--which might call for two pounds of cheese (2,930 calories and 189 fat grams)--but it will resonate in flavor and, just as important, take less time to assemble and cook. I love a rich rectangular slab of lasagna, and once you've had a lasagna Bolognese made in Italy as Lucia Ercolano makes hers, it's hard to imagine it any other way. I had to work to maintain those flavors, so I kept an element of the cream but saved calories by using two layers of zucchini instead of all pasta. So you can now eat a healthy, soul-satisfying lasagna with only a fraction of the typical calories.
- 0.5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
- 1.5 Tbsp arrowroot
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1 large zucchini, about 1 pound, cut lengthwise into ribbons 1/8 inch thick to make 8 ounces of ribbons
- 2.5 cup no fat, sodium, or sugar added chopped tomatoes, such as Pomi
- leaves fresh basil, torn into bite-sized pieces
- freshly ground black pepper
- 4 Ounce 96%-lean ground beef, such as Laura's Lean
- 4 Ounce organic whole wheat, no boil lasagna, about 6.5 sheets, such as Delallo
Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the ground beef with salt and pepper, and once the oil is smoking, add the beef to the skillet. Brown the beef on one side about 2 minutes, then break it up with a spoon and add half the torn basil, followed by the chopped tomatoes. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook about 1 minute. Set aside.
Stack the zucchini in 4 equal piles, place each pile on a microwave-safe plate, and cook in the microwave on high for 1 minute. Flip each stack over and cook on high for another minute, then set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon of milk to a small bowl and mix with the arrowroot. Add the remaining milk to a small saucepot and bring to a simmer over high heat. Add the arrowroot mixture and whisk until thickened, about 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and add all but 2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano and whisk into the sauce until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Spoon a thin layer of Bolognese sauce onto the bottom of a microwave-safe 8x8x4-inch dish, then place two lasagna sheets over the top, pressing down on the sheets until they break and naturally fit the bottom of the dish. Add a thin layer of Bolognese, then drizzle a thin layer of the white sauce on top. Place a third of the remaining basil leaves over that layer, then add a layer of zucchini ribbons on top. Season with salt and pepper.
Repeat the previous layering sequence. Fill in any bare spots with half a sheet of pasta, breaking into pieces where necessary.
Place the last 2 remaining lasagna sheets on top and spoon the remaining Bolognese over that; then cover with a final layer of zucchini and basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
Top with the remaining white sauce, then sprinkle the remaining Parmigiano over the entire surface of the lasagna.
Tightly cover the dish with plastic wrap and cook in the microwave on high until the pasta is cooked, about 15 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and broil until brown, about 1 minute. Remove the lasagna from the broiler and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting into 4 equal pieces.
Tip: If you prefer to cook this the traditional way, you can bake it at 350 degrees for 45 minutes uncovered.
No Boil is Bull! Right? The lasagna is considered "no boil," no bull. It really is no boiling required, because the ingredients have been designed to hydrate the pasta during the cooking process. If you can't wrap your head around this concept, you can precook the lasagna sheets and cool, then assemble as directed. This will save about 30 minutes of cooking time in the traditional oven method.
Check out the video playlist above to watch Rocco make this recipe.
In "Now Eat This! Italy," watch New York Times best-selling author and celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito as he travels to Italy to learn how to make all our favorite Italian dishes from the real Mamas of Italy like lasagna Bolognese with Lucia Ercolano, Spaghetti Vongole with Daniella Miccio and Insalata Caprese with Maria Ercolano. In this unique intersection of travel, adventure, culinary and healthy Rocco answers the question, "Can you eat pasta and lose weight?"
Produced: 2013 By: Savory Place Media