Roasted Zucchini Summer Lasagna with Pesto

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Makes about 8 servings

If you are super motivated (or just have a lot of time on your hands) feel free to make your own spinach pasta sheets. If you're at the opposite end of that spectrum (the time one, that is), use store-bought fresh pasta and/or pesto. If you can't find fresh pasta sheets, I'd wager that typical no-boiling noodles (Barilla) would do the trick. Soak them in cold water for 15 minutes or until they are soft, then dry them out and use them as you would if they were fresh. If you don’t, no-boil noodles might require more liquid than this recipe contains, though. Below you’ll find the recipe with just the roasted zucchini squash, however other roasted vegetables, such as eggplant, red onions or bell peppers, would be tasty additions to the summer squash. Make this dish yours.

3 pounds summer squash (about 12 medium zucchini), sliced 1/4" thick
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt

12 ounces fresh, good quality ricotta at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup of good quality parmesan cheese

5 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 cup basil pesto

16 ounces mozzarella, thinly sliced
12 ounces fresh pasta sheets (preferably spinach) (cut to fit in a single layer if necessary; enough for 4 layers of pasta)

¼ of a cup of pine nuts
½ cup of parmesan cheese OR pecorino cheese  

Roast the squash:
Position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 450ºF. Divide the sliced squash between two oiled sheet pans. Toss with the olive oil and salt, then arrange in a single layer (the squash may overlap a bit, but will lose volume as it bakes). Roast the squash, rotating once halfway through, until tender and beginning to brown in places, about 25 - 30 minutes. Let cool until handle-able.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF.

Mix up the cheese:
Meanwhile, place the ricotta in a medium bowl, and gradually add the Parmesan cheese. If too thick, feel free to add a little bit of whole milk to make the mixture smooth. Stir in the salt and pepper.

Make the Besciamella:
In a medium saucepan, heat butter until melted. Add flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until light golden brown, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat milk in separate pan until just about to boil. Add milk to butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth and bring to a boil. Cook 30 seconds and remove from heat. Season with salt and nutmeg and set aside.

Assemble the lasagna:
Lightly oil a 9x13" pyrex baking dish.
Spread a bit of Besciamella sauce at the bottom and lay a single layer of pasta sheets in the pan, cut to fit if necessary.
Spread the pasta with 1/4 cup of pesto and a ladle of besciamella sauce .
Arrange 1/3 of the roasted squash over the pesto in a single layer.
Dollop 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the squash and spread evenly.
Sprinkle some Parmesan or pecorino cheese on top.
Lay 1/4 of the mozzarella over the goat cheese.
Arrange another layer of pasta sheets over the mozzarella, and make 2 more layers just like the first (pasta, pesto, besciamella, parmesan/pecorino cheese, squash, ricotta, mozzarella), for a total of 3 layers.
Add a fourth layer of pasta sheets over the mozzarella, and spread with the remaining 1/4 cup of pesto. Reserve the remaining 1/4 of mozzarella.

Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake the lasagna at 350ºF until bubbling and the pasta is tender and browned around the edges, about 45 minutes.

Turn the oven to broil.

Remove the foil, lay the remaining mozzarella over the top, and place under the broiler (watch carefully!) for a minute or two to melt and brown the cheese.

Let the lasagna rest for 10-15 minutes, then cut and serve. The lasagna keeps well, refrigerated, for up to several days; reheat before serving.