“We’re going to make pasta today.”
“Yesssss!” The cheers rise from my students, “I luuuuuuuuuv pasta.”
“But not really pasta.”
“Huh,” a little less enthusiastically.
“Well, it’s pasta, but it’s made out of zucchini.”
Total confusion at this point. Some are stuck on that whole pasta thing and still excitedly clamoring for pasta. Some actually listened and are trying to understand how pasta, a noodle, can be zucchini.
“Zucchini pasta? What? You mean zucchini in our pasta?”
“So just forget everything, we’re making lasagna.”
“YES! I luuuuuv lasagna.”
“Out of zucchini.”
All were willing to move forward though and test this experiment. What we found was that it was well worth it.
At home we’ve been playing around with zucchini “noodle” lasagna, eggplant “noodle” lasagna and a combo of the two. Even my skeptical husband, who was sure it wouldn’t be filling enough because “I need carbs!” was hooked. He requested multiple batches and even suggested making mass quantities to freeze for the winter. An excellent idea we never did because we ate them too quickly. The toddler around these parts equally loved these.
In class, we whittled down the at-home version to the essentials for the same tasty results. We baked the lasagna in mini muffin trays, a classroom favorite to reduce cooking time, and to make individual servings. (Mini muffin, or regular muffin trays would be another great way to freeze these into serving size portions.) The mini muffin tins also allow students to all receive the very mini lasagna they themselves constructed.
“You remember which lasagna everyone made?”
“Um, of course! Here’s yours!” I serve it with a flourish.
“That’s not mine, mine had a…”
“Yes it is! It changes when it’s baked.”
Served up to thumbs up.
To “I don’t like this, I loooooove this.”
To “This is awesome because the cheese is pink and pink cheese… Is. Uh-mazing!”
To “These lasagnas taste like MUSIC to my EARS!”
Mini Zucchini Lasagnas
Yield: 12 small muffin-tin sized pieces
1 zucchini (thin piece), scrubbed and trimmed
6 leaves basil, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2-3 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Brush muffin tin lightly with olive oil. Slice zucchini into thin rounds using a box grater.
Combine basil, garlic, ricotta, olive oil, tomato paste, dried oregano, salt and pepper, mix until combined.
Place a zucchini round in the bottom of each muffin tin, top with a dollop of ricotta mixture. Alternate zucchini/ricotta layers until each tin is full. Top with a sprinkle of mozzarella. Bake for 12 minutes, or until cheese is browned and bubbling.