Lasagne is a wonderful invention. I mean, pasta in general is great but lasagne is particularly brilliant. It’s an all in one meal that looks fabulous set in centre of a table. It can be precooked and reheated without any problem (unlike most pasta) and it appeals to adults and children alike.
It is so solid and smells so wonderfully creamy and herby coming out of the oven that it gives me that real ‘Earth Mother’ feeling. I love the reaction when people come to the table and see it sitting there beckoning to them…
I always feel that a traditional meat lasagne al forno should be a meal in itself – I usually put a bowl of salad on the table with it, but nothing else. This veggie lasagne works really well as a main meal (with or without salad) but it can also be a fabulous side dish with sausages or chops or any number of other meaty accompaniments.
It’s pretty straightforward if a little time-consuming but well worth the effort! Also, if you make a big one, it can last over several meals – freezes well too.
- 2 medium carrots sliced
- 1 large onion sliced
- 1 green pepper sliced
- 1 red pepper sliced
- 1 courgette sliced
- 1 clove of garlic crushed
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 2 dessert spoons of tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon of Italian herbs
- Salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoonful of sugar or honey
- 1 packet of dried lasagne
- 1 pint of semi-skimmed milk
- 1 tablespoon of plain flour
- Full flavoured hard cheese to sprinkle on top
- Chop the vegetables (feel free to use your food processor to speed this up).
- Add them to a pan with the tinned tomatoes, herbs and seasoning. Allow to cook gently for 5 - 10 minutes.
- Add the tomato puree to give depth and some richness to the sauce.
- Add the sugar/honey and allow to simmer for a further minute.
- While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the white sauce.
- Pour one pint of milk into a pan. Place it over a medium heat. Add the flour and a knob of butter if desired. Stir continuously until the flour is thoroughly mixed into the milk with no lumps visible. Continue stirring as the sauce thickens to prevent lumps developing.
- When the sauce is bubbling, turn the heat down and allow it to cook out for about two minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Begin with a thin layer of the cooked vegetables on the bottom of a large baking dish.
- Spoon a little white sauce over the vegetables (just enough to thicken the vegetable juice as the lasagne cooks).
- Place the first layer of lasagne over the vegetables and white sauce. Ensure the sheets of lasagne overlap so that no gaps are visible.
- Layer vegetables and sauce once again.
- Add a further layer of pasta.
- Repeat until the dish is three quarters full. Cover with a final layer of pasta.
- Spoon the white sauce liberally over the top layer of the lasagne. Is should be quite thick and spreadable. Ensure all the pasta is covered so that it does not dry out in the oven.
- Sprinkle cheese on top. Add a twist of pepper or herbs if desired.
- Place in a preheated oven (around 150 degrees - medium to low) for around 45 minutes.
- When the surface is golden and bubbling, the lasagne is ready to serve.