Mediterranean Vegetable Lasagne (serves 6)
For the lasagne:
1 small aubergine
2 medium courgettes
450g cherry tomatoes, skinned
1 small yellow or red pepper, deseeded & cut into 2.5cm squares
9 sheets of dried spinach lasagne (that needs no pre-cooking)
1 large onion, peeled, sliced & cut into 2.5cm squares
2 fat cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
2 tablespoons torn fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
50g pitted black olives, chopped
1 heaped tablespoon capers
75g mozzarella, grated
Sea salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the sauce:
35g plain flour
570ml (a pint) of milk
1 bay leaf
grating of fresh nutmeg
3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
Plus 1 tablespoon for the topping
Salt & freshly milled black pepper
You will also need:
a large, shallow roasting tin
a heatproof baking dish
measuring 23 x 23 x 5cm (9 x 9 x 2 inches)
- Heat the oven to 240C, 475F or Gas Mark 9.
- Prepare the aubergine & courgettes ahead of time by cutting them into 1 inch dice, leaving the skins on. Toss them in about 1 dessertspoon of salt and pack them into a colander with a plate on top and a heavy weight on top of the plate. Leave them to one side for about an hour, so that some of the bitter juices drain out.
- Next squeeze out any juices left, and dry the aubergine and courgettes thoroughly in a clean cloth.
- Now arrange the tomatoes, aubergine, courgettes, pepper and onion in the roasting tin. Sprinkle with the crushed garlic, basil and olive oil, toss everything around in the oil to get a good coating, and season with salt & pepper.
- Then place the tin on the highest shelf of the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the vegetables are toasted brown at the edges.
- Meanwhile make the sauce by placing all the ingredients (except the cheese) in a small saucepan and whisking continuously over a medium heat until the sauce boils and thickens. Then turn the heat down to its lowest and let the sauce cook for 2 minutes. Now add the grated parmesan.
- When the vegetables are done, remove them from the oven and stir in the chopped olives and the capers.
- Turn the oven down to 180C, 350F or Gas Mark 4.
- Now into the baking dish pour one-quarter of the sauce, followed by one-third of the vegetable mixture.
- Then sprinkle in a third of the mozzarella and follow this with a single layer of lasagne sheets. Repeat this process, ending up with a final layer of sauce, then sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of grated parmesan over the top.
- Now place the dish in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is crusty and golden. All this needs is a plain lettuce salad with a lemony dressing as an accompaniment.