Jane created this decadent Lasagna(ish) recipe as a special treat for last nights dinner. We were celebrating St Dwynwen’s Day (Welsh Valentines Day), 25th January. See my other blog for more info:
Jane is normally busy (juggling two jobs at the minute) but took the time out to whip up this wonder and it was rich and delicious. It’s like a cross between Moussaka and a classic Lasagna, with lots of luxury twists along the way.
We have used wheat free pasta here, but normal pasta will be just as good.
This was packed full of love, which is just as well, we’ll be munching our way through this for days!
It takes a while to get together and the veg is not exactly local (unless you are lucky enough to be on the Med), but it’s a one off!
Makes one large oven dish full, serves 4 big people.
2 aubergines, 2 bell peppers (yellow and orange look good), 1 large courgette, 2 large field mushrooms all roughly chopped into chunks and sprinkled with fresh thyme and rosemary.
2 large red onions and 4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced, 8 medium ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped, a little dried oregano, 2 handfuls of chopped roasted hazelnuts (one for topping, one for the sauce), 2 handfuls of halved olives, 1 handful of fresh basil leaves, 2 handfuls of spinach, 3 tbsp tomato pesto (or 3 tbsp tomato puree), glug of red wine.
1 knob of butter, 1 ounce of plain flour, 1 big lump of good mature cheddar (grated), 1 pint of good creamy milk, 1 tbsp of whole grain mustard.
1 lump of creamy goats cheese (sliced)
1 packet gluten-free lasagna sheets (200g)
Salt (if needed) and pepper. We don’t add much salt to our food, especially this. The cheese and pesto will add saltiness.
Heat the oven to 200 0c.
Toss aubergine, peppers, courgette and mushrooms in olive oil and a good amount of thyme and rosemary, stick in oven on a baking tray, cook until nicely soft and coloured, around 15 minutes. Cover and set aside.
In a good pan soften the onions and garlic on medium heat for 10 minutes, when nice and sweet and soft, add a glug of red wine, then tomatoes and a few shakes of oregano, heat for further 10 minutes until all broken down nicely. Season (if needed). Then add spinach and basil leaves, halved olives, tomato pesto(or tomato puree) and the roasted veggies. Mix up, the sauce should be nicely thickened. Cover and simmer.
Then in another smaller pan on lowish heat, melt butter, stir in flower, add milk slowly whilst stirring constantly, until a smooth sauce is formed. Stir in grated cheddar (keep a bit for the topping) and mustard (I would sneek a little goats cheese in there too), it should have the texture of a ‘thin custard’. If not add more milk or flour (made into a loose paste).
Then its layering time. Make sure you ration the sauce well. In the oven dish, ladle in a layer of veg, cover with random sheets of pasta, then a layer of cheese sauce, more pasta, then repeat with veg first until dish is full, normally twice (or until you run out of sauce!). So thats veg pasta cheese pasta veg pasta cheese.
On the last layer of cheese sauce, top with liberal slices of goats cheese, a bit of grated cheddar, a sprinkling of roasted hazelnuts and some fresh thyme.
Heat for 40 minutes at 200 0c, check after 20 mins and cover with foil if getting burnt.
Cut into slabs and get it on a plate. We had ours with a simple crunchy green salad. Best eaten beside an open fire.
We Love It
Two cheeses and the occasional crunch of a hazelnut. There are so many flavours here, it’s a sunshine party in your mouth. This is a truly unique lasagna/ moussaka!!! Food with an identity crisis just shows that the experiments are working! Not one for the faint hearted or calorie conscious.
Tomatoes and Peppers contain more vitamin C than Oranges. Vitamin C is good for maintaining a healthy immune system and keeps tissues healthy. Great in these winter months.
We drank a nice Chianti with ours. Full of cherries. Look for something red, dry(ish) and acidic (cut through the cheese sauce and stand up to the tangy toms). You can pick up a decent, reasonably priced Chianti on the high street. As with most good Italian wines, ask for a D.O.C.G, which is basically a sign of quality. A higher stamp of approval from the Italian wine people.