Lasagne. Just the word itself evokes warmth and comfort. I’ve never made a vegetable lasagne before, but after my work colleague Viv went to the cafe downstairs from our office to get their vegetarian lasagne for lunch last week, I decided to try my hand at something new. After perusing some recipes online, I’ve put together my own recipe, taking elements from old recipes I have and some inspiration from things I’ve found online. This recipe will serve four, with salad on the side.
Many recipes called for eggplant, however I’m not so much of a fan as while it’s nice in tempura, it does have a certain spongy quality to it. As I was making smaller individual lasagnes using my mini loaf pan, I decided to use ‘flatter’ ingredients so that I could create more layers. So in my lasagne, I have used orange sweet potato, zucchini, capsicum, a mushroom and ricotta tomato sauce, as well as a Bechamel sauce.
You will need:
- Olive oil;
- 1/2 orange sweet potato;
- One zucchini;
- One red capsicum (pepper);
- Fresh thyme leaves;
- Fresh rosemary leaves, chopped;
- Four button mushrooms;
- One jar Barilla Mozzarella & Ricotta tomato sauce;
- 3/4 C Pizza cheese, plus extra, for topping;
- 20g butter;
- Two cloves garlic, chopped finely;
- 1/4 brown onion, chopped;
- 2 T plain flour;
- 1 + 1/2C milk;
- Salad to serve (optional, but strongly recommended).
First of all, I began my cooking each of my elements separately so that some wouldn’t be raw while other parts were cooked. First, I peeled, chopped and then used a mandolin to get thin slices of my sweet potato. I laid them out on a baking tray lined with paper, before brushing them with some olive oil, seasoning with salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary leaves.
Bake in a 200 degree Celcius oven until tender.
At the same time, quarter a red capcisum, removing the stem and seeds. Lay on a baking tray, skin side down, then brush with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and fresh thyme leaves.
Bake until blackened and tender.
Allow to cool before removing skins and tearing into strips.
Slice a zucchini thinly, then pan fry the strips until slightly yellow.
Now to make your sauce. I was a completely lazy bastard and so used bottled sauce, Barilla Mozzarella and Ricotta tomato sauce. Life is too short sometimes to deal with trivial things, especially when you have enough things to do already.
I first sauteed a clove of garlic and 1/4 of a brown onion until semi-transparent, then added about four sliced button mushrooms and pouring in 3/4 of a jar of sauce. Simmer until thickened.
Make your Bechamel sauce by melting 20g of butter in a saucepan. Once melted, add one chopped clove of garlic and two tablespoons of plain flour, cooking until the mixture bubbles. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in 1 +1/2C of milk, before returning to the heat. Cook for five minutes until the mixture boils and thickens, then gradually whisk in 3/4C of pizza cheese (mozzarella, cheddar and Parmesan) in batches. Continue whisking over a medium to low heat until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper.
Line your baking tray before slicing some fresh lasagne sheets to fit. Place a sheet on the bottom, layer with red sauce, zucchini, sweet potato, Bechamel, then repeat. Place capsicum slices somewhere around the middle. Top the last layer as a pasta sheet, before sprinkling with a little more cheese.
Bake in the oven until cheese is melted and golden. Remove and serve immediately with salad (just to redeem yourself a little).
Who would have thought that eating so many veges would be so tasty?