Pasta, Pizza, Risotto, Vegan/Vegetarian

Zucchini and Zucchini Blossom Lasagna Bianca

Loreto September 3, 2018

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Zucchini and Zucchini Blossom Lasagna Bianca is a celebration of flavor and texture. Tender melt-in-your-mouth homemade pasta meets a luxurious plump and tasty sauteed zucchini and its blossoms, with wonderful caramelized walla onions and a creamy cheese sauce. This lasagna leaves you feeling comforted and fulfilled.

Song of the day: “When we were young” by Adele.

zucchini and zucchini blossom lasagna bianca

Zucchini and Zucchini Blossom Lasagna Bianca is a wonderful comfort dish with warm delicious flavors and textures. The luscious cream sauce holds the balance in a dance of tender, crispy, and delectable, doing it in a most beautiful way making this lasagna a winner for your family!

 

 

Zucchini this year in our garden has been growing in full production. I was in the garden yesterday and there are still numerous zucchini blessing our plants. I think the only thing that will stop it, is our inevitable cooler Fall temperatures, unfortunately……

Nicoletta and I have been coming up with many creative ideas for the zucchini, besides giving it away. There is a wonderful recipe for double chocolate zucchini muffins, a creative pizza recipe, and we have a lemon zucchini cake recipe coming, along with a savory Argentinian stew, a Thai curry zucchini soup, and of course this Zucchini and Zucchini Blossom Lasagna Bianca. It won’t end there, our creative juices are still flowing and I am sure some of the zucchini will disappear into the world of creativity!

I have to say there are many Italian dishes that I love. As a child pizza, and cutlets were amongst my preferred, but when I heard the word lasagna, a smile would come with a few growls from my stomach thinking of the folds of pasta, sauce, and melted cheese. It was a dish usually prepared for a special occasion like Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, or just because we were having people over. I remember my mom and dad making the dough and that aroma of flour and egg in the air. It is still fresh in my mind. I loved the process of working the dough then cut it into thin oblong rounds and in it went to a hand-cranked pasta machine to become a thin layer sheet of light golden wonderfulness. I thought that was quite magical, as my imagination was vivid. I loved watching my mom and dad working together on that old table in the basement kitchen. The way their hands touched and handled the dough with such tenderness and love. Better yet in my mind as a child, all  I could think of was how delicious the lasagna was going to be slathered in a rich tomato sauce, and sprinkled with plenty of Parmigiano and mozzarella. My favorite, cranking the pasta machine, feeling that lump of dough pressing its way through the machine, and we always enjoyed playing with the bits and pieces left over creating our own pasta sheets or shapes.

Today, Nicoletta reminds me of that time and she has that same touch: tender, loving and precise.

Zucchini and Zucchini Blossom Lasagna Bianca, homemade or not homemade? That is the question.

To me, I would always answer homemade. The pasta is so tender and light and tastes just amazing. Store bought is okay and when the time is tight, it is a fair substitute, but if you have time, homemade is the way to go, and if you have a stand mixer like ours with the pasta attachment, in no time you will have amazing lasagna sheets waiting to be assembled.

zucchini and zucchini blossom lasagna bianca

I call Nicoletta the dough whisperer! She has that touch and knows just when the mixture is right for the task it will take on. In the case of this lasagna, the sheets were like golden paper thin veils of delicateness and poise. As you can see in the picture Nicoletta is serious about pasta making and her concentration very much in the Zen pocket. I took a moment to capture her in action so you could see why I call her the dough whisperer. Not only beautiful but very talented, and some may say I am biased, I say I am lucky! It is amazing to think just minutes ago there was this small ball of dough and now we have many lovely lasagna sheets, ones that are going to grace our Zucchini and Zucchini Blossom Lasagna Bianca.

zucchini and zucchini blossom lasagna bianca

I am also surprised with the growth of our zucchini blossoms this year, utterly amazing. Usually we have only a few weeks of zucchini blossoms, but this year we have been having them for months and still have many blessing our plants to date. Pretty incredible. I know many don’t know that you can eat them. We have told you about them before and the proper way to educate people to pick and use them. So, as a review, you eat only the ones that don’t have a zucchini attached to them and when washing them you take out the center bud and of course be very delicate with them. Today, they are going into this wonderful Zucchini and Zucchini Blossom Lasagna Bianca and it is going to be absolutely fantastic.

zucchini and zucchini blossom lasagna bianca

Our ingredients are ready to assemble. The zucchini are sauteed with walla walla onions, garlic scapes, chives, freshly chopped parsley and some seasoning, including infusing a drop of white truffle oil just to kick up the flavor a few notches. The sauce, a combination of four cheese panna (cream), whipping cream, Parmigiano cheese, beautiful morsels of creamy fresh mozzarella.  Together, a recipe for success.

Now let’s get started. Water is on a slow boil in a large pot, and the sheets go in a few at a time to cook for several minutes. Out they come into a bowl of cool water to stop the cooking, and also to keep them from sticking together, then on a clean dish towel.

zucchini and zucchini blossom lasagna bianca

Zucchini and Zucchini Blossom Lasagna Bianca: the sheets are ready and the process of assembly goes something like this:
  • Scoop some of the sauce into the bottom of the pan.
  • Lay the lasagna sheets in letting it come up the sides a bit.
  • Spoon some more sauce onto the noodles making sure there is plenty coating the pasta sheets.
  • Layer in the zucchini sautée and flowers.
  • Sprinkle with grated Parmigiano and some nice morsels of mozzarella.
  • Another layer of lasagna sheets placed perpendicular to the last layer.
  • The same process: sauce, zucchini, flowers, Parmigiano, and mozzarella.

zucchini and zucchini blossom lasagna bianca

After four layers are completed, a little drizzle of E.V.O. oil and the Zucchini and Zucchini Blossom Lasagna Bianca is ready for the pre-heated oven. As you can see, the pasta sheets come up over the edges and this you definitely want to have because those edges are going to add such texture and flavor to an already impeccable taste combination! One word of advice, at the end of cooking, just turn the grill on low and get that top nice and golden. This is so important in order to get that texture on the top. Watch it carefully though, you don’t want it to burn.

zucchini and zucchini blossom lasagna bianca

Look at that lasagna. Those nice browned crisp edges, the melted mozzarella. The juices from the sauteed vegetables oozing onto the tender pasta and those zucchini flowers offering such a tantalizing color to the eye. My mouth is watering. The only advice I give at this point is: hold that mouth watering. The Zucchini and Zucchini Blossom Lasagna Bianca has to sit for a bit to firm up. If you cut into it now it will just fall apart and will be a mess on your plate. We want to preserve all that work we have put in, and see those layers dripping with that melted cheese and all that creamy deliciousness with the juices falling from its folds.

Time to cut in. I love the sound of those crispy edges breaking. Then the knife just falls into the luscious middle. The spatula goes in and out comes this wonderful piece. Today we made it in a smaller square oven dish. The reason for that is I want every piece to have crispy edges. Smart idea, eh! In goes my fork. The pasta just melts in your mouth and at the same time, the crunch from those edges resounds. This is only the beginning as we go into the depths of the layers. The sweet onion and zucchini, garlic scapes, and blossoms are joyous to our tongue bursting with flavor. The cream sauce rich and full of cheesy goodness balancing the texture of the noodles and veggies. Just love those bits of pepper and pungent notes from the Parmigiano with that backdrop of truffle oil. Its exoticness plays wonderfully with our sense of smell and taste. A lasagna would not be a lasagna without that melted mozzarella, with its melted bliss and at the same time crispy goodness.

Zucchini and Zucchini Blossom Lasagna Bianca

We made extra take-out lasagnas and shared them with my kids. My daughter Alexa said that the lasagna was fantastic and the best she has had thus far. That says a lot and means that this one wins over my parents’ lasagna.

P.S. We won’t tell my mom, as we know it, theirs is still ‘numero uno’! Lol.

Whether a special occasion or a wonderful Sunday lunch, you are going to have many a fan when you serve and they taste this Zucchini and Zucchini Blossom Lasagna Bianca!

Buon Appetito!

Song of the day: “When we were young” by Adele.

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zucchini and zucchini blossom lasagna bianca

Zucchini and Zucchini Blossom Lasagna Bianca

  • Author: Nicoletta and Loreto
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 27 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 57 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings
  • Category: Pasta, Vegetarian
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Zucchini and Zucchini Blossom Lasagna Bianca is a celebration of flavor and texture. Tender melt-in-your-mouth homemade pasta meets a luxurious plump and tasty sauteed zucchini and its blossoms, with wonderful caramelized walla onions and a creamy cheese sauce. This lasagna leaves you feeling comforted and fulfilled.


Ingredients

For the pasta dough:

  • 2 eggs
  • 140 g flour type 00
  • 60 g semolina flour
  • a few drops of water, if needed
  • more semolina flour for kneading and to sprinkle on the sheets

For the lasagna:

  • 20 lasagna sheets, homemade
  • 6 small zucchini, cut in rounds
  • 6 small walla walla onions, cut in thin rounds
  • 2 garlic scapes, chopped fine
  • 20 zucchini blossoms, cut into quarter slivers
  • 1 tsp chives
  • 1 handful basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 pinches of fine sea salt
  • Crackling of fresh black pepper
  • 125 ml four cheese panna
  • 250 ml of whipping cream
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 pinches of paprika
  • 125 g fresh mozzarella, cut into small chunks
  • Drop white truffle oil

Instructions

For the pasta dough:

  1. In a food processor toss in flours and eggs. Blend till dough starts to form. If needed, add a bit of water (this may be needed when eggs are small/medium).
  2. Take dough out of processor and place on a floured work surface. Knead dough, folding dough over onto itself and turning and repeating using some good force to get that dough nice and soft. The texture should be soft and velvety to the touch, and elastic. Now shape it into a dough ball and let it rest for about 30 minutes, covered with a dish towel.

Pasta sheets:

  1. Take the dough. cut dough into half-inch thick rounds, press dough making rounds a little bit thinner then proceed to put it through the pasta machine.
  2. Roll dough rounds in the pasta machine starting from the lowest number and repeating one number at a time till you get to 5, always dusting with semolina flour before rolling. Lay sheets on a floured surface, not overlapping. Dust tops with some semolina flour.
  3. Continue to do the same until all dough is finished.

Vegetables:

  1. In a large saute pan drizzle in olive oil and bring to a medium heat. Toss in onions and garlic scapes and saute till onions become soft.
  2. Place in zucchini rounds and saute for about five minutes seasoning with basil, parsley, chives,  salt pepper, paprika, and a drop of the white truffle oil. Take off heat and place in a bowl.
  3. In the same saute pan pour in panna, whipping cream, Parmigiano, salt, pepper, paprika, on low heat, cook until cheese melts and mixture has thickened and become warm. Take off heat.
  4.  While cheese sauce is warming, get a large pot of salted water on a low boil, place 3 sheets at a time in and cook for 2-3 minutes. Take out gently and place in a large bowl of cold water, then on a clean dish towel until ready to use.
  5. Continue this until all the pasta sheets are cooked.

Assembly:

  1. In an 8″x 8″ x 2 ” deep oven dish, spoon in some cream sauce and spread it all over the bottom.
  2. Take cooked pasta sheets and lay on top of the cream sauce. Don’t worry if the sheets come up the sides a bit.
  3. Spoon more sauce onto pasta sheets, then layer sauteed onion and zucchini mixture, and top with some zucchini blossom slivers.
  4. Sprinkle with grated Parmigiano, and place in dollops of fresh mozzarella.
  5. Place in another layer of pasta sheets this time laying them in perpendicular to the last layer. coat with cream sauce, sauteed onion zucchini mixture, zucchini blossom slivers, and finally a sprinkling of Parmigiano and those dollops of fresh mozzarella.
  6. Continue this process until you have four layers. The only thing to do now on top is a drizzle of e.v.o. oil. and preheat the oven to 400° F.
  7. Place lasagna uncovered into the middle rack and bake for 25 minutes. Then turn oven to low grill and cook for an additional 2 minutes checking it to make sure the top is not burning. Oven temperatures vary depending on the brand.
  8. Take out of the oven and let sit 5 minutes to let it set up!
  9. It is now ready to serve.

Enjoy!


Notes

  1. The prep time includes the 30 minutes resting time for the pasta and the working time of the pasta into sheets.
  2. This recipe makes 2-8 x 8″ x 2″ deep lasagna. The reason for doing this is that you will have crispy bits in every piece. But you can still make one large lasagna if you wish.
  3. You can freeze the second one if you don’t have the people to feed, but try to use it in a month’s time. As we all know, more time in the freezer makes for that freezer burn taste. I also highly recommend placing plastic wrap first, then aluminum foil on top.

zucchini and zucchini blossom lasagna bianca

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31 Comments

  • Reply Alexa September 3, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    Amazing!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta September 4, 2018 at 1:09 pm

      Thank you Alexa, I am glad you got to try this one, and I sure hope you make it on your own.
      Happy cooking!
      Dad!

  • Reply Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop September 3, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    This is comfort food at its finest! I’ve made pasta dough just once or twice. It does take a special touch. Well done! 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta September 4, 2018 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Kathy, good on you for making home made pasta. It is very intimidating. Nicoletta definately has the dough touch and I do call her the dough whisperer, her doughs are fantastic and when she gives it that final test and I see that smile on her face, I know we are in for a treat!
      Thanks Kathy!
      Cheers!
      loreto

  • Reply Elaine Benoit September 4, 2018 at 6:29 am

    This reminded me so much of my childhood. I used to love to help my mom and grandmother make pasta. For the longest time, I didn’t know you could buy boxed pasta at the store. Nicoletta does look like she has the touch!! This bianca lasagna looks so delicious and I definitely need to try it!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta September 4, 2018 at 1:05 pm

      Thank you Elaine, don’t you just love how food brings all those warm and fuzzy memories to the forefront. I love whern you said you didn’t know lasagna pasta came in boxes, we didn’t either till very late but my parents hated using them, always like home made, and god bless them for that!
      Cheers!
      Loreto

  • Reply Dawn September 4, 2018 at 6:39 am

    I really want to reach through my screen and grab a plate of this deliciousness! Happy to hear it went over well…though, how could it not? P.S. that song is just lovely 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta September 4, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      Hi Dawn, thank you and so glad you noticed the song. That is a very important part of our posts for Nicoletta and I and I think it sums up this recipe perfectly. Wish we could transport food through the computer to a re-energizer. That would be a real treky moment wouldn’t it! lol.
      Have a great week Daw!
      Cheers!
      loreto

  • Reply Gloria September 4, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    I want to devour this RIGHT NOW!! I have yet to taste zucchini blossoms. I don’t even know where to find them around here. Give me a dish of this…and a glass of wine. Dinner is served.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 4, 2018 at 4:36 pm

      Now your talking Gloria, a nice cold glass of white wine and this luscious lasagna and you have the makings of a great evening! Thank you!
      Loreto

  • Reply Jenni LeBaron September 4, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    What a gorgeous way to use zucchini blossoms! You really can’t beat freshly made pasta with simple flavors like this. I bet the tiny bit of truffle oil just elevates everything!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 4, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      Hi Jenni, we totally agree fresh pasta is always the way to go if you have the time, and these blossoms made such a difference in presentation and flavor. That truffle oil was subtle but married to the taste of this lasagna well! Thank you for taking the time to comment.
      Cheers!
      loreto

  • Reply Nicolas Hortense September 6, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    This is incredible!! It’s awesome that you made this with fresh pasta! And such a great idea to add the zucchini blossoms too. It’s nice to see that you went for a more creamy vibe rather than a tomato base flavour. Always nice to see something new and inspiring (:

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 9, 2018 at 8:08 am

      Thank you Nicolas, fresh pasta is always a treat and has so many wonderful memories iinfused in it. Yes the cream sauce rather than the tomato sauce offeres a nice change to the norm and it pairs so nicely with the blossoms and zucchini, plus those wala onions and their juicy plumpness is a match that screams deliciousness!
      Happy cooking Nicolas!
      Cheers!
      loreto

  • Reply Lorie September 8, 2018 at 10:12 am

    Until last year I didn’t know Zucchini blossom was something people ate. Now I know I was missing out. This recipe is pure brilliance!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 9, 2018 at 8:05 am

      Thank you Lorie, so glad of your discovery of zucchini blossoms, we have a few recipes on the blog you may want to check out especially the battered and fried ones. Better than chips!
      Have a wonderful day!
      Loreto

  • Reply prasanna hede September 8, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    I have never made pasta myself,always had store bought one’s…your pics make drool and loved the use of blossoms.I usually use pumpkin blossoms but this is awesome!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 9, 2018 at 8:04 am

      Hi Prasanna, I have seen the epumkin blossoms and I think they would work just the same. I would imagine then to be sweet wonderful like the zucchini blossoms. Thank you so much for you comment.
      Cheers!
      loreto

  • Reply Eileen Kelly September 8, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    Making pasta at home is one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen, it relaxes me! I love your zucchini lasagna recipe. The flavors are so fresh and using the zucchini blossoms is genius!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 9, 2018 at 8:02 am

      Thank you Eileen, we absolutely love zucchini blossoms and they are still coming in our garden. I can’t believe our garden never seen so much produce this late in the season. I hear you about pasta making, it is a real meditative and calming experience and turns out to be so tender and tasty in this lasagna!
      Ciao Loreto

  • Reply Marisa Franca September 9, 2018 at 7:40 am

    I wish we had a garden. We used to have a huge one with loads of zucchini and zucchini blossoms, of course. I would have wanted to make this. We do make our pasta dough with 00 flour — you just can’t beat it. I will have to see if I can’t find some zucchini and blossoms to make this. That mozzarella cheese is calling. to me.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 9, 2018 at 7:47 am

      Hi Marisa, having a garden is such a wonderful thing. This year has been exceptional for produce and this lasagna is so delicious with those lovely smaller zucchini and the blossoms. It is even better knowing we made it really from scatch and with all our own grown organic vegetables and passionate hands. I sure hope you find some blossoms and zucchini so you can try this lasagna Thank you for sharing, love reeading these comments!
      Cheers!
      Loreto

  • Reply jagruti September 9, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    Wow,.amazed to see homemade pasta and zucchini blossom in lasagna, such a comfort and delicious looking dish.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 9, 2018 at 4:03 pm

      Thank you, the pasta making comes inherited to us as we are both Italian well Nicoletta more than me. So lots of past down recipes. The blossoms and zucchini are perfect for a white lasagna and that creamy cheesy sauce was so delicious!
      Happy cooking!
      Loreto

  • Reply Jackie @TheSeasideBaker September 9, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    Wow! What an amazing dish-and it’s made with fresh homemade pasta! I love how you call Nicoletta the pasta whisperer! So cute!

  • Reply Sharon September 9, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    Zucchini blossoms are a surprisingly delicious addition to summer dishes. I love this layered dish!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 10, 2018 at 11:03 am

      Thank you Sharon, totally agrree with you on the blossoms. They are so tasty and colorful. Especially love them tempura battered and fried Better than chips!
      Have a wonderful day!
      Loreto

  • Reply Julie September 10, 2018 at 5:07 am

    I’ve only ever stuffed zucchini blossoms before; it never really dawned on me to use them for anything else. What a great use!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 10, 2018 at 11:02 am

      Thank you JHulie, so excited for you to try this way of using zucchini blossoms. It is so good and they do look lovely!
      Cheers!
      loreto

  • Reply Renee Gardner September 10, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    This lasagna looks so elegant! Love the addition of zucchini blossoms and I totally agree that fresh pasta is always worth the extra effort.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 14, 2018 at 6:57 am

      Hi Renee, thank you. Nice to hear someone else that knows fresh pasta, for us definately worth the extra work. When it is a passion it isn’t work at all. I have to say zucchini blossoms were still blooming don’t know about now after the snow and cold though. Loved them in this lasagna and are a perfect compliment to an already incredible dish!
      Cheers!
      loreto

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