6.11.11

the best veggie lasagne


Various meals inspired this dish - an excellent red pasta sauce I love to make, roasted veg panini and even the classic nutmeg-ricotta-spinach filo triangles. Most of all, traditional lasagne which, if done right, are the nicest meal there is.


Ingredients:
1 pack fresh lasagna sheets (you get approximately 12 and you need about 3 1/2 per layer)
1 ball fresh buffalo mozarella
some grated parmesan for garnish

for red sauce
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 carrot
2 tins chopped tomatoes
sea salt, pepper
olive oil
200ml white wine
1 tbsp light muscovado sugar
a handful of fresh chopped parsley

for roasted vegetables
2 zucchini
1 aubergine
4 large chestnut mushrooms (or any other mushroom)
3 medium thick slices of butternut squash
1 pointy red pepper
good handful fresh spinach leaves
sea salt, pepper, olive oil

for the béchamel
30g butter
2 1/2 tbsp flour
about 500ml milk
1/4 tsp nutmeg powder

Preparation:

Chop the zucchini diagonally, in 8mm slices. Slice the aubergine a bit more thinly, 5mm. Remove the seeds and cut the pepper into 2cm thick strips. Slice the mushrooms but not very finely.
Peel the butternut squash using a vegetable peeler. From the full part, cut 3 slices 8mm thick.
(You can use the rest of the squash to make roasted pumpkin soup).
Halve the squash slices.
Keeping the veg separate, sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Let the vegetables marinade like this while you cook the sauce.

To make the red sauce, finely chop the onion, garlic and carrots. First sauté the onions in 2 tbsp olive oil unti soft and translucent. To it add garlic and then the carrot. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and wine, season with salt and pepper and add the sugar and 1/2 of the chopped parsley.
Simmer on low heat until the liquid reduces and the sauce becomes thick and glossy, for about 30-40 minutes.
When the sauce is ready, leave it to cool while you prepare the vegetables.

I roast (in a dry skillet) first the aubergine, then the zucchini, pumpkin, mushrooms and pepper last (because pepper has most intense flavour).
You want all the veg golden but not black or overcooked (as it will have another hour in the oven later).

When you are ready, assemble the lasagne.
Drizzle a little olive oil on the bottom and add a few tablespoons of sauce. Cover with the first layer of pasta. Spread some more sauce and arrange the butternut squash, then zucchini and then peppers. Cover with another layer of pasta and sauce. Cover with aubergine, mushrooms, then sauce, layer of spinach, grated mozzarella and finish with a final layer of pasta and cover with sauce.

To make béchamel, melt the butter in a small saucepan. To it add the flour and stir until it smells cooked (a few minutes). Slowly add milk, whisking all along to make sure you have no lomps. Add the nutmeg and stir until it boils up and the sauce thickens.
Pour the béchamel over the lasagne and cook at 180 C, covered with aluminium foil for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil, grate some parmesan on top and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.

When lasagne are ready, sprinkle with some chopped parsley and allow it to rest for 20 minutes before cutting into squares and serving with salad and garlic bread.

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And this is my little helper in the kitchen :D

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