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Sicilian Vegetable Lasagna

Steve Hunter

Yield: Yields three lasagne of four ample servings each.

This Sicilian recipe from Catania, called lasagna alla Catanese, is typical of eastern Sicily. Its flavors are luscious, fanciful, and somewhat over the top, reminiscent of the best puttanesca. Roasting the eggplant takes some time, especially if you have one oven, not two, but it’s time largely unattended. You can also pan fry the eggplant or grill it.


  • 6 yellow or red bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil; more as needed
  • 1 large onion, very finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 16 anchovy fillets (preferably salt-packed), rinsed
  • Four 28-oz. cans tomatoes, drained, seeded and chopped (already diced is fine)
  • 3/4 cup pitted and chopped imported green olives
  • 3/4 cup pitted and chopped imported black olives
  • 1/2 cup capers, rinsed, chopped if large
  • 2 Tbs. dried oregano
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 eggplant (about 1-1/2 lb. each), peeled and sliced crosswise 3/8 inch thick
  • Olive oil for roasting the eggplant
  • 2-1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced as thinly as possible
  • 2-1/4 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 lb. instant (no-boil) lasagna noodles
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 680
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 280
  • Fat (g): 31
  • Saturated Fat (g): 14
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 13
  • Cholesterol (mg): 50
  • Sodium (mg): 1500
  • Carbohydrates (g): 65
  • Fiber (g): 13
  • Protein (g): 41


Make the sauce and roast the eggplant:

  • Char the bell peppers over a gas flame, on a grill, or under the broiler until the skins are blackened all over. Seal the peppers in a bag or a bowl to steam for 10 minutes. Peel, seed, and chop the peppers.
  • Heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a deep, heavybased pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, parsley, anchovies, and the chopped roasted bell peppers and cook, stirring frequently, until the anchovies have melted, about 10 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium low and add the tomatoes, olives, capers, oregano, and water. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, 45 minutes. You should have about 16 cups of sauce.
  • Heat the oven to 450°F. Line several baking sheets with parchment; lightly oil the parchment. Arrange the eggplant slices in one layer on the parchment; you may need to do this in batches. Brush the slices liberally with more olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Roast until the slices are lightly browned and somewhat shrunken, 20 to 25 minutes.

Assemble and bake the lasagna:

  • Reduce the oven heat to 400°F. Lightly oil three 9x 9x 2- or 8x 8x 2-inch square metal or ceramic baking pans (disposable pans are also fine) and cover the bottom of each with a layer of pasta. Sprinkle some of the Parmigiano over the pasta. Top with a layer of eggplant slices. Spoon some of the sauce over the eggplant to amply cover, about 1 cup. Top with a layer of mozzarella and another sprinkling of the Parmigiano. Continue in this order—pasta, Parmigiano, eggplant, sauce, mozzarella, Parmigiano—finishing with a layer of pasta, some sauce, and the Parmigiano. You should be able to easily get four layers into each pan; if you have extra components, you can add another layer to one or more of the lasagne.
  • Seal the pans with aluminum foil, tented so it doesn’t stick to the cheese. Bake until a knife inserted in the center of each lasagna comes out very hot and the pasta is tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the lasagna with parsley before serving.

Make Ahead Tips

The baked lasagna freezes beautifully and will last for months in the freezer. After baking, cool completely on a rack before freezing. Defrost frozen lasagna overnight in the refrigerator and then bake at 400°F for about 1 hour. Check that the center of the lasagna is heated through by poking it with a knife or metal skewer and then feeling that the metal is hot.


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Reviews (4 reviews)

  • andrewaway | 08/26/2017

    I haven't made this for years but this morning I bought three lovely Sicilian eggplant at the farmers market. I googled the recipe and found it immediately. This is such a great dish.

  • Fireweed99 | 09/11/2013

    One of my all time favourites, I've been happily making this for years!

  • sjkaplan | 02/17/2008

    terrific. add 8oz sliced mushrooms to the sauce. I use 3 8x8 glad pans. this then needs about 1.5 lb of noodles (2 12 oz boxes).

  • lacemaker | 01/06/2008

    Very good but did take alot of time and attention. I also added some hot itallian sausage to the sauce since I can't have the fish. Very tasty and makes lots!

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