Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Ingredients (adapted from Curious Cuisiniere):
4 medium zucchini
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons red wine
1/4 teaspoon bittersweet smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce (I used Rao’s)
Small handful of fresh basil, chopped, plus more for serving
1 pound mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Trim the ends off the zucchini and cut them lengthwise into strips about 1/4 of an inch thick (I don’t have one, but a mandolin would be great for this). You don’t need to worry about making all the slices perfectly even, but try to err on the side of making them too thin instead of too thick. Sprinkle the kosher salt on both sides of the zucchini slices and let them sit on top of paper towels or a wire rack while you make the meat sauce.
Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a spatula, until no longer pink. Lower the heat to medium high, add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until the onion softens. Add the wine and let it bubble away for a minute. Stir the paprika, fish sauce, and a bit of salt and pepper (keeping in mind that your sauce is likely already salted, and the zucchini has been salted as well–I only added a pinch). Add the marinara along with 1/4 cup of water, stir well, and reduce the heat so the sauce simmers. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until nice and thick. Turn off the heat and stir in the basil.
Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with a little olive oil. Pat the zucchini dry and line the bottom of the pan with a single layer of zucchini slices. Spread half the meat sauce on top of the zucchini. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the mozzarella and then 1/3 of the parmesan cheese. Add another layer of zucchini slices followed by the rest of the meat sauce, 1/3 of the mozzarella, and 1/3 of the parmesan. Put on a final layer of zucchini slices and top them with the remaining cheese and a little freshly ground black pepper.
Grease a piece of foil a little bigger than your pan and use it to cover the pan (greasing the foil helps keep it from sticking to the cheese). Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, raise the oven temperature to 400°F, and bake for about 10 more minutes, until all the cheese is melted and the lasagna is bubbling. Let the lasagna rest for at least 10 minutes, then slice and serve, topped with fresh basil if desired.