Lasagna with Zucchini, Zucchini-Flowers & Carrots

Zucchini flowers are produced by female and male zucchinis*. The female flower is a golden blossom on the end of each emergent zucchini. The male flower grows directly on the stem of the zucchini plant in the leaf axils, on a long stalk, and is slightly smaller than the female. Both flowers are edible, and are often used to dress a meal or garnish the cooked fruit.

Firm and fresh blossoms that are only slightly open are cooked to be eaten with pistils removed from female flowers, and stamens removed from male flowers. There are a variety of recipes in which the flowers may be deep fried, stuffed, sautéed, baked, etc. In this recipe I use it in lasagna.

Ingredients

  • 800g Zucchini with their flowers (if available)
  • 400g Carrots
  • ~12 Lasagna sheets (store bought or homemade)
  • 2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano

for the béchamel

  • 50g Butter
  • 50g Flour
  • 1.2lt Milk
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 bay leave
  • A pinch of Salt & Pepper

Preparation

  • Finely chop the zucchini and carrots (using a food processor).
  • If you have the zucchini flowers, remove the pistils and chop them manually.
  • Heat some butter and Olive Oil and sauté the zucchini and carrots for ca 10 minutes, be careful not to burn them.
  • In another pot melt the butter over med/low heat for the béchamel and add the flour once the butter has melted (this is called roux) once the butter-flour mixture turns light brown add the whole garlic clove, bay leave and milk; keep steering and let the milk simmer until it gets thicker in consistency, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Remove 1 ½ to 2 cups of the béchamel and set aside.
  • Pour the zucchini and carrot mixture into the remaining béchamel and mix well.
  • Take out an oven form and butter it.
  • Start layering the pasta by placing the pasta sheets in the botton of the oven form, cover with a layer of béchamel/zucchini-carrot-mixture and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano, add another layer of pasta and repeat the steps until the oven form is full. The last layer should be made with the béchamel you have set aside, sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • Preheat the oven to 180˚C or 375˚F and cook until golden brown (ca 45 Minutes)

Serves 6

 

*male & femal zucchini flowers:

male & female zucchini flowers

male & female zucchini flowers

 

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