I have a confession – I really like the Food Network. There are several shows that I am practically obsessed with, like Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives and Guy vs Rachel: Celebrity Cook Off, and sit down to watch regularly. But even when I’m not actively watching TV, the Food Network is frequently on as background noise, there is something rather zen about spending time in the kitchen while listening to a cooking show, even when you aren’t making the same dish. It was during one of these times that I heard Marcela Valladolid talking about a particular recipe on Mexican Made Easy. Her Mexican take on veggie lasagna with zucchini and poblano peppers sounded amazing and I knew I had to try it.
The first time I made the recipe, I followed it perfectly and was not that thrilled with the results. I used the 8×11 inch baking dish and the listed amount of veggies but found the lasagna thin and not very satisfying. I like my lasagna thick and dripping with delicious flavors and filling, but to even feel somewhat satisfied I had to cut a huge piece, cut it in half, and stack it on top of itself. So the second time I made it I doubled the amount of zucchini and used a smaller pan- a 9×9 inch pan. The final result was perfect.
Poblano Pepper Lasagna
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
2 cups frozen sweet corn kernels
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon thyme
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion
2 large (4 medium) zucchini, shaved or thinly sliced lengthwise
4 poblano chiles, charred, peeled, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1-inch strips
6-8 (7 by 3-inch) no-boil lasagna sheets
2 cups shredded Oaxaca cheese, or authentic Mexican cheese blend
1) Saute minced garlic in 2 tablespoons melted butter over medium-high heat. Add corn and saute until some of it starts to color (turn brown). Add whole milk and thyme. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes, so flavors meld together. Do not worry in the milk curdles, how the milk curdles (bacteria v. heat) matters, the curds themselves do not matter. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
2) Roast poblano peppers on your gas stove following these instructions from the roast red pepper and swordfish dish or following Anna’s instructions here for roasting them in the oven. Slice poblanos into half-inch wide strips. Also shave or slice your zucchini at this point.
3) Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add thinly sliced onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add zucchini and poblano pepper strips and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
4) Using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree corn and milk until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.
5) Spread approximately half a cup of the corn puree on the bottom of a 9×9-inch square pan. Layer 3-4 no bake lasagna noodles on top and spread poblano-zucchini mixture on top of noodles. Sprinkle with half a cup of shredded cheese. Layer 3-4 more noodles on top of the veggies, spread with corn puree, veggies, and cheese. Repeat 1-2 more times depending on how much you have. Finish with a layer of puree and cheese.
6) Cover lasagna with foil and bake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour in an oven preheated to 350°F. After the hour is up, remove foil and turn oven to broil. Cook until cheese on top begins to brown.