Friday, August 14, 2009

Recipe: Vegetable Garden Lasagna

I know. It has been way too long since I posted a recipe. I can't handle cooking when it is 90 degrees in the kitchen, so I haven't had a recipe worth posting in months. But we got an eggplant from our CSA last week and I am not the biggest fan, but I remembered a recipe I got from my wonderful Aunt Karen for a delicious lasagna with eggplant and mushrooms (another vegetarian staple that I'm sort of iffy about) that even I loved. So I whipped it up last Sunday and apparently it is good enough that one of my devoted blog readers (Hi Amy!) insisted I post the recipe. I heard one taste of it made her weak in the knees. It isn't the fastest recipe, but it is delicious and worth the effort if you have the time and a worthy occasion. I made the tomato sauce instead of using something from a jar because it only takes about 15 minutes to whip it up, but a jarred sauce would work too. (I use jarred sauce about 99% of the time.) Like all lasagnas it is crazy gooey right out of the oven, but sets up if you let it rest for a bit before trying to cut it and the leftovers are even better. Sorry there are no pictures. It pretty much looks like lasagna.

Vegetable Garden Lasagna

1 eggplant
1 teaspoon coarse salt
8 tablespoons olive oil
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into julienne
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into julienne
1 large onion, slilvered
12 ounces portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 cup flour
8 ounces lasagne noodles
3 cups Tomato Sauce (see recipe below)
1 1/2 cups Bechamel Sauce (see recipe below)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
5 ounces chevre
1/2 cup silvered fresh basil leaves
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated

Slice the eggplant into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Sprinkle them with the coarse salt, and let drain in a colander for 1 hour. Wipe off the salt and pat dry. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the bell peppers and onion, and saute over medium-low heat until cooked through but not browned, 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the peppers and onion from the skillet. Add another 1 tablespoon olive oil, and saute the mushrooms until cooked, 5 minutes. Remove the mushroom from the skillet, and add 3 more tablespoons olive oil. Dredge the eggplant with flour, shaking off the excess, and saute the slices on both sides, over medium heat, until lightly browned, adding more olive oil as needed. Transfer the cooked eggplant to paper towels. Preheat the oven to 350. Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the lasagne, and cook at a rolling boil until just tender. Drain, rinse under cold water and drain again. Spread a small amount of tomato sauce on the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Arrange half the lasagne noodles over the sauce. Cover with the peppers, onion, mushrooms, and eggplant, in layers. Mix the bechamel and parmesan together and spoon half on top of the vegetables. Crumble the chevre over the bechamel, and sprinkle with half the basil. Top with more tomato sauce, and then another layer of lasagne noodles. Spread the remaining bechamel over the lasagna, and sprinkle with the remaining basil. Top with the remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle with the mozzarella. Cover the dish with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until brown and bubbly, another 15 minutes.

B├ęchamel Sauce

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
pinch of paprika
pinch of ground nutmeg
salt and ground pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the flour and cook, stirring, over low heat for 3 minutes. Raise the heat to medium and slowly add the milk, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Continue whisking until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Stir well and remove from the heat.

Quick Tomato Sauce (from Cooks Illustrated)

2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 medium onion, grated with box grater
1/4 tsp dried oregano
table salt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes (Tuttorosso is the freshest tasting)
1/4 tsp sugar
2 Tbs chopped fresh basil leaves
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper
  1. Heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion, oregano, and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar; increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and oil; season with salt and pepper. Serve.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Hi Kate- Thank you for posting this. One taste and I was hooked! It was delicious (glad Logan shared).