Pastel Azteca (Mexican Lasagna)

final

Pastel Azteca is the Mexican answer to the lasagna.  Layers of tortillas, sauce, cheese and delicious fillings are placed in a casserole dish, then baked to golden yumminess is achieved. The tortillas soak up the sauce creating a soft, almost velvety texture. It is super easy to make and very satisfying.

Although this can be very rich and hearty I decided to lighten it up a bit.  Zucchinis and yellow squash are the main stars of this recipe.  I created a simple chunky not-quite-salsa-not quite-enchilada-sauce-tomato sauce to help the dish from becoming too heavy.  A light sprinkling of cheese also helps.  Don’t worry, the flavor is still there.

WHAT YOU NEED:

– 6-10 tortillas (flour or corn. I used whole wheat flour for this recipe but any will do);

-1 cup of cheese, shredded (go for a good melting cheese, like Monterrey Jack or Oaxaca);

– 2 large zucchinis, sliced into half moons;

-1 medium yellow squash, ditto on the half moons;

– ¼ red onion, roughly chopped;

-2 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes (fire-roasted works best but any will do);

-1 tsp. of cumin;

– ¼ – ½ tsp. of dried oregano;

– ½-1 chipotle pepper, chopped (depending on heat level. ½ will give you mild heat while a whole pepper will give you medium heat);

-1 bay leaf;

-2-4 cloves of garlic, chopped;

-oil;

– salt;

-black pepper

WHAT YOU DO:

In a small saucepan or sauté pan heat a small amount of oil on medium heat.  Toss in onions and sauté until translucent.  Add the chopped garlic and cook for about 1 minute or until fragrant.  Next, add the tomatoes, cumin, oregano, chipotle peppers, bay leaf, salt and pepper.  Continue cooking for at least 15 minutes for flavors to mix together.  Set aside.

sauce

In a large sauté pan, add a small amount of oil.  Once oil begins to shimmer, add zucchini and squash to the pan.  Continue to cook until veggies get some color.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

zuks

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  While oven preheats, cut tortillas in half.  Cover bottom on baking with cooking spray.  Arrange tortillas halves onto baking sheet, covering the entire surface.

tort

Spoon tomato sauce mixture onto the tortillas followed by the zucchini and squash mixture.

ready

Sprinkle cheese on top.

almost in oven

Repeat layers (usually two to three layers).  Top with tomato mixture and a sprinkling of cheese.  Place in oven for 15 minutes, then broil on high for 2-3 minutes.  Let cool before serving.

out of oven

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