Outstanding Veg Lasagne
To kick off our Meat Free Monday campaign our resident veggie Clementine has shared her ultimate vegetarian lasagne. It is out of this world.
Ingredients – Filling
- Small Butternut squash, (850g)
- 60g Parmesan cheese, (or vegetarian hard cheese)
- 100g Cheddar cheese
- 100g baby spinach
- 350g fresh lasagne sheets
- 100g ripe mixed-colour cherry tomatoes
- 20g dried porcini
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 250g mixed mushrooms
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 500ml single cream
- 50g Parmesan, (or vegetarian hard cheese)
- 2 carrots
- 2 onions
- 2 sticks of celery
- a few sprigs each of fresh thyme, rosemary, sage tied into a bundle with string
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 2 x 400 g tins of quality plum tomatoes
- 2 x 400 g tins of tins of beans such as cannellini, borlotti, haricot
- 2 courgettes
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.
- For the base of your white sauce, just cover the dried porcini with boiling kettle water and leave to rehydrate.
- Halve the squash. Scoop out, wash and reserve the seeds. Drain and pat dry, then place onto a tray, drizzle with oil, and sea salt and black pepper.
- Roughly chop each squash into 8 chunky wedges, then toss on a large tray with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and a good pinch of chilli flakes. Roast for 1 hour, or until golden, adding the tray of seeds for the last 30 minutes.
- For the ragù, peel the onion and carrots, trim the celery, then chop it all into 1cm dice and place in a large casserole pan with 2 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook on a medium heat for 20 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally. Tie the herb sprigs together with string and add to the pan for a few minutes. Chop courgettes into chucky squares and add, stir until soft.
- Tip in the tomatoes, breaking them up with the back of a wooden spoon, then pour in 2 tins’ worth of water. Leave to tick away for 30 minutes, then drain and add the beans. Cook for a further 30 minutes, or until thickened and reduced.
- For the white sauce, peel and finely slice the garlic, and clean and finely slice the mushrooms. Pick and finely chop the herbs.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan, add the garlic for 1 minute, then add the herbs, mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper, then cook until just starting to colour, stirring regularly.
- Add the porcini and soaking liquor (leaving any gritty bits behind), leave to bubble and cook away, then turn the heat down to low, stir in the single cream and cook gently for a few minutes. Remove from the heat, finely grate and stir in the veggie friendly Parmesan.
- To assemble the lasagne, grate the Cheddar and the Parmesan. Remove the herb bundle from the ragù, stir in the Parmesan, then generously spoon 2 ladle-fuls into the bottom of a 25cm x 30cm lasagne dish. Drizzle over 2 tablespoons of white sauce, tear over a quarter of the squash, scatter over a handful of spinach, and top with a layer of pasta. Repeat 3 further times, finishing with the remaining creamy sauce.
- Using a spatula, loosen the edges (this will push some of the sauce down the sides for bonus flavour!), then top with the grated Cheddar.
- Slice up the tomatoes, quickly toss in olive oil, dot over the top, then bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.
- Once cooked, remove the lasagne from the oven and leave to stand for 30 minutes. Serve with a fresh, seasonal salad! Enjoy!