Giada De Laurentiis' Keto Lasagna Rolls Rely On One Key Ingredient

Giada De Laurentiis smiling
Giada De Laurentiis smiling - Eric Charbonneau/Getty Images

Giada De Laurentiis may be known for cooking Italian classics, but many of her original recipes also stray from tradition. For example, her bruschetta includes honey, calabrian chili paste, and ricotta cheese in addition to the basic tomato, basil, and olive oil combo. And when it comes to lasagna, the celebrity chef makes two unconventional changes — she swaps the noodles for zucchini and rolls them up instead of layering them in the pan. This method takes less time because you don't have to pre-cook any noodles and it's also keto-friendly.

To prepare this twist on lasagna, De Laurentiis first creates thin strips of zucchini using a peeler. Then, on each strip of zucchini, she spoons on the filling — a mixture of ricotta, spinach, egg, and prosciutto — and rolls it up like a burrito. This goes into the oven along with marinara sauce and mozzarella and after a quick 30 minutes in the oven, it's ready to serve.

Read more: The 101 Best Pizzas In America

What You Should Know Before Using Zucchini In Lasagna

zucchini rolls topped with cheese
zucchini rolls topped with cheese - YouTube/Today

There's nothing worse than cutting into lasagna and finding watered-down sauce pooled at the bottom of your baking dish. A lot of times this happens when you don't drain the pasta well enough, however, it can also occur even if you replace it with zucchini. This type of fruit is naturally high in water and that liquid gets released during the cooking process, which can inevitably lead to a soupy lasagna.

Patting the zucchini ribbons dry can help, but it only removes water from the surface. For best results, first let the zucchini sit on a paper towel and salt them. This will bring out the water from within.

Giada De Laurentiis also recommends spacing out the zucchini rolls in the pan. If they're too close together, they'll steam and get soggy. Another good way to prevent the fruit from steaming is to opt for a higher temperature because it will cause the liquid to evaporate faster. Rather than the usual 350 to 375-degree Fahrenheit range that classic lasagna calls for, De Laurentiis suggests 450 degrees Fahrenheit instead.

Rolling Is Optional

Baked lasagna made with slices of zucchini
Baked lasagna made with slices of zucchini - Grazziela/Shutterstock

Because zucchini cooks differently than pasta, you might assume rolling is a necessary part of the recipe, but it's just Giada De Laurentiis's preferred way of assembling lasagna. Even in her non-keto lasagna recipe that uses real lasagna noodles, she still rolls it up. If you want a more traditional-looking lasagna, you can always layer the zucchini ribbons like you would with pasta. This is a reliable option if you don't have a peeler or want to avoid slicing yourself with a mandoline. Since the zucchini doesn't have to be flexible enough to roll up, you can simply slice it. If your pieces end up being thick, just make sure to pre-cook them to reduce the moisture.

De Laurentiis is also a fan of an approach she calls "layerless lasagna". This technically involves some layering, but they aren't perfectly arranged. So instead of rolling up the zucchini ribbons or carefully lining them up in the pan, you'd be more haphazard about it, resulting in a dish that falls somewhere between a casserole and a traditional lasagna. Whether you prefer this method or would rather stick to rolling, the zucchini substitution makes for a tasty, keto-friendly lasagna.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.