When you think of the best summer dinner recipes, lasagna might not come to mind, but Jamie Oliver just proved that you should think again. After all, lasagna doesn’t just have to be the layered dish full of heavy meats and pounds of cheese that tastes so good in the winter. Instead, the British chef and cookbook author put his own summery twist on lasagna, adding a bunch of seasonal veggies to the recipe along with some unexpected herb combinations. Oh, and did we mention that you don’t even have to boil your noodles?
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Oliver’s “scruffy” eggplant skillet lasagna is much easier to put together than the traditionally layered dish, and the fact that you don’t have to boil the noodles ahead of time makes this recipe so much more summer-friendly. He uses fresh lasagna noodles, which you can find in many large nationwide grocery stores these days, or in speciality Italian markets, too.
The other star of this dish is summer eggplants. Oliver steams the eggplants in a large skillet first to make them super smooth and tender, and best of all, it’s all done in a single skillet so there aren’t a ton of dishes to sweat over after dinner.
He also says that if you don’t like eggplants, you can replace them with a different summer veggie – zucchini, farmer’s market peppers, portobello mushrooms, or a combination of all of these would be delicous additions.
Oliver combines the cooked eggplant with plum tomatoes, onions, garlic, chili flakes, sage leaves, and lemon zest. It’s a brighter, earthier combination than our usual lasagna add-in of basil.
He also uses some bolder cheeses than the usual ricotta and mozzarella. Instead, Oliver opts for aged cheddar cheese and Parmesan in equal parts, which adds a deep complexity to the dish.
The fresh lasagna noodles are added in at this stage, and then the skillet is topped with a savory almond and sage crumble before baking in the oven until golden and bubbly on top.
That’s all there is to it. One pan, no boiling, just a comforting pasta skillet filled with seasonal veggies. Serve with a cool and crunchy salad drizzled with balsamic per Oliver’s suggestion, and you’ve got an unforgettable summer meal.
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