Vegetarian

Vegetarian Lasagne

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It is years since I made this so I had forgotten how delicious and comforting it is. Made it the other night and there wasn’t a sliver left by morning! Vegetarian lasagne would be my preference over the meat variety but that’s just me. We did feed this to a confirmed carnivore once and he never guessed there was no meat in it! Wolfed the whole lot down *and* asked for seconds!

The method is very straight forward. It may seem that there are a lot of steps but some of these run together so it is not as time consuming as it may originally appear.

This recipe uses a standard size lasagne dish and feeds 4. I prepare it in advance as not only do I like to let the tomato mix stand for a while, I find it easier to put this together when both sauces are cool. I place tin foil over it and slow cook it in the oven. This is my preferred method if using no-cook lasagne sheets to avoid those crunchy ends. I brown off the cheese topping under the grill. I also roast the pepper before adding as I think this enhances the flavour.

What do I serve this with? Mixed salad or garlic bread or both. On occasion, I don’t bother as it is nice enough on its own.

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 red pepper
1 aubergine, chopped into small chunks
Salt
2 tbsp, olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 lb mushrooms, sliced roughly
1 large courgette, chopped into small chunks (same size as aubergine)
2 tbsp, tomato puree
1 tin tomatoes (cherry tomatoes if possible)
1 tsp, sugar
1 dessert spoon, dried parsley
1 tsp, dried basil
Sea salt and ground black pepper
1½ pint milk*
2 ounces, butter
2-3 tbsp, flour
Lasagne sheets
Grated cheese to cover the top of the lasagne (I use a mix of cheddar and parmesan)

Method
1. Put the aubergine chunks into a bowl and sprinkle liberally with salt
2. Heat the oven to 180C and place the red pepper on the rack to roast for about 15 minutes or until soft (turning half way through)
3. Heat the oil and fry the onion gently until soft (about 8-10 minutes)
4. Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes
5. While the onion is cooking, rinse the aubergine chunks thoroughly
6. Add all the chopped vegetables to the onion/garlic mix and cook for another 5 minutes
7. Add the tomato puree, herbs, sugar and tinned tomatoes and allow to simmer gently for about an hour
8. Season with salt and pepper
9. In another pan, melt the butter
10. Add the flour and cook over a low heat until pale, stirring all the time to avoid burning
11. Add the milk gradually to combine it with the roux until 1 pint is added to the mix**
12. Season with salt and pepper
13. Cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes until it thickens and set aside (cover the pan to avoid a skin forming)
14.  Heat the oven to 150C degrees
15. Put a small amount of the tomato mix at the bottom of the dish and cover with lasagne sheets
16. Cover these sheets with tomato mix. Drizzle with a couple of dessert spoons of white sauce
17 Repeat this until the dish is full. Cover the remaining lasagne sheets with the white sauce making sure to cover the edges of the pasta
18. Sprinkle with cheese all over the top and cover loosely with tinfoil (make sure that it does not touch the top)
19. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 40 minutes
20. Brown the cheese top under the grill until bubbling

*If I have the time, I heat the milk with a bay leaf and a little grated nutmeg before using it in the mix.

** The remainder of the milk is required if the white sauce needs to be thinned out

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