13:41 | Posted by Nim Headland | Category ,

Roasted Veg Lasagne



Now, how good looking is this?

This lasagne recipe is perfect for this time of year when you'll probably have a crowd of people to feed at some point. It'll save you from having to cater separately for the veggies, as it's so tasty and filling that meat-eaters won't feel hard done by at all. Serve with crusty bread, a big green salad and plenty of gutsy red wine for the perfect laid back gathering.
The key here I think is loads of different veggies for great texture and colour. I used yellow peppers, chunks of red onion, tomato, mushrooms and courgette, but aubergine and black olives would have been fab added to that lot too. An autumnal mix of squashes and root veggies would also be lovely. It's such a flexible recipe so experiment with your favourites.

Serves 6 generously.

For the veggies:
A selection of mediterranean veggies for roasting. There are no hard and fast rules for amounts here, but I can tell you that I used 2 peppers cut into chunks, one medium red onion cut into small wedges, a large double handful of halved cherry tomatoes, 12 sliced mushrooms and one courgette cut into rounds.
8 tablespoons olive oil (not extra virgin)
Salt and pepper

For the tomato sauce:
My tried and tested tom sauce works perfectly here.
2 tbsp olive oil
A medium white onion, finely chopped
A couple of fat cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
2 tins of Italian chopped tomatoes
A generous splash of balsamic vinegar (not your best one)
A handful of chopped fresh basil, about 15 leaves.
A pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

For the cheese sauce:
I started out making a plain white sauce here, but found it so bland that I ended up chucking in a handful of cheddar to help it stand up to the bossy flavours of the veggies. Much better.
85g butter
85g plain flour
700ml milk
25g cheddar cheese

To assemble:
300g pack fresh lasagne sheets
50g torn mozzarella
50g grated cheddar
a few halved cherry tomatoes and some basil leaves for decoration (optional)

Right then, here we go. First things first, preheat your oven to 200oc. Then get chopping your veggies, making sure they are all roughly the same size, large chunks work best. Chuck the chopped veggies into a large baking tray, in one layer if possible (if not, use two trays). Anoint generously with olive oil, a touch of salt and a good grind of pepper. Give the tray a good shake or mix with your hands, and pop it into the oven for about 25 minutes, until the veggies are lightly brown and gorgeous. Keep half an eye on then though!

While this is happening, you can get on with your sauces. Over a medium setting, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a big saucepan, large enough to take both the tomato sauce and the roasted veggies. Chop the onion and garlic finely, and fry gently until softened and starting to change colour. Add the chopped tomatoes, balsamic, herbs and sugar and turn up the heat, letting it bubble enthusiastically before turning down to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes to allow to the sauce to reduce and the vinegar to cook out.

For the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a small pan, then stir in the flour to make sort of paste. Cook for two minutes before slowly beginning to whisk in the milk, a little at a time, making sure that all lumps are whisked out. Bring the sauce to the boil, stirring all the time and add the cheese. Turn down the heat and continue to cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens sufficiently to coat the back of a wooden spoon, before removing from the heat.

By now your veggies should be looking good, so take them out of the oven and give yourself a minute to get your breath back before launching into the fun part - assembly! Chuck the veggies into the tomato sauce, stir well and check the seasoning. Remove from the heat.

Get yourself a big serving dish (about 30cm x 20cm), and spoon a layer of veggies and tomato sauce into it. Top with a layer of lasagne, then drizzle over about a quarter of the cheese sauce. Repeat this layering until you've got 3 layers of pasta. To finish off, spoon the rest of the cheese sauce over the top of the final pasta layer and scatter over the mozzarella and cheddar cheeses before decorating with basil leaves and cherry tomatoes. Stand back and admire your work. This will sit for a couple of hours until you are ready for it, then you'll need to bake it for about 45 minutes in a preheated oven at 200oc.