According to a Vegetarian Times study, over 7 million Americans are vegetarians and as many as 22.3 million follow a vegetarian-inclined
diet. What does that mean to you? You are likely to end up with a vegetarian at your dinner table this Christmas.
Fear not! Executive Chef of Shutters on the Beach, Vittorio Lucariello, has over a decade of experience preparing
dinners for some of Los Angeles’ most discerning and varied palates. In case you are located in a part of the country where no restaurant dining is
allowed this year, we asked this Italian native to share his favorite vegetable inspired recipe for the holidays:
Vittorio’s Vegetable Lasagna
Ingredients (Makes 8 Servings)
14 lasagna noodles (2 extra for filling in holes)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup (140 grams) chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic, (3 cloves)
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
One (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into 1/2-inch pieces, 1 heaping cup
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
Generous handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
One (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
2 large eggs
2 ounces (60 grams) parmesan cheese, grated, about 1 cup
8 ounces (230 grams) low-moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1. COOK THE NOODLES
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil then cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. (We add a couple teaspoons of olive oil to the water so the noodles do not stick together). Drain then lay flat on a sheet of aluminum foil.
2. PREPARE VEGETABLE SAUCE
Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet with sides over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, zucchini, squash, and a pinch of salt then cook, stirring occasionally until softened but still with some crunch, another 5 to 8 minutes.
Stir in the roasted red peppers and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook until the liquid has thickened and reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the basil and season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
3. MAKE CHEESE FILLING
While the sauce cooks, stir the ricotta cheese, eggs, and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a medium bowl until blended.
4. ASSEMBLE LASAGNA
Spoon just enough vegetable mixture into the baking dish to lightly cover the bottom (about 1 cup). Arrange four noodles lengthwise and side by side to cover the bottom. (If the noodles are short on one end, you may need to cut an extra noodle and place into dish to cover where the other noodles have not).
Spread about half of the ricotta cheese mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle with a third of the parmesan cheese and a third of the mozzarella cheese. Top with a third of the vegetable mixture.
Add another layer of four noodles then repeat with remaining cheese and vegetables. Finish with a final layer of noodles, vegetables, parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.
Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes, uncover then bake 15 minutes until cheese is crusty around the edges. To make the cheese golden brown on top, slide under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes. Let it rest 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Perfect Pumpkin Soup
Ingredients (Makes 6 Servings)
• 1 (4-pound) pumpkin (kabocha squash is best)
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
• 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• 3 garlic cloves, chopped
• 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
• ½ teaspoon turmeric
• 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk, reserve a little for garnish
• 2½ cups vegetable broth
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Water, as needed
• Microgreens, optional, for garnish, fried sage and swirl of cream fraiche
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and pinches of salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet, cut-side down. Roast for 50 to 60 minutes, until very soft. When cool to the touch, peel away the skin and measure 4½ packed cups of the flesh.
3. Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, salt, and several grinds of fresh pepper and sauté until soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, and stir for 30 seconds, until the spices are aromatic. Add the cooked squash, coconut milk, and broth and stir to combine. Simmer for 20 minutes, then stir in the vinegar.
4. Transfer to a blender, working in batches if necessary. Blend until smooth. Kabocha squash can vary in water content, so if your soup is too thick add up to 1½ cups water (½ cup at a time) to reach your desired consistency. Garnish with additional coconut milk, cream fraiche , fried sage and fresh black pepper, and microgreens, if desired.
If you are strapped for time this holiday and lucky enough to live near Shutters on the Beach, Vittorio and his team have teamed up with their culinary family next store at Hotel Casa del Mar to bring you all their favorite dishes for Christmas and New Years for you to enjoy at home. Their Holiday Menus are available for Take Away or delivery (within a 5 mile radius) through Tock.