Not quite ready for #Veganuary but still wanting to cut down on meat this month? Lasagne alle Verdure is the perfect mid-week meal for you. Traditionally, lasagne comes from Emilia-Romagna, but we love this fresh Ligurian take on the baked dish. Wide, flat sheets of egg pasta are layered with creamy béchamel sauce and delicious fresh vegetables.
Ingredients (serves 12-15)
For the béchamel:
Nutmeg, salt & black pepper, to taste
For the lasagne:
125g lasagne sheets
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 3.5cm pieces
1 pound sugar snap peas, cut into 2.5cm pieces
2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed
2 bunches spring onion, sliced into 1cm pieces
3 bunches basil
3 cloves garlic
85g Parmigiano Reggiano
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Make the béchamel by melting the butter in a pan. When the butter melts, add the flour and mix continuously until it becomes a light brown paste.
Add the milk a little at a time and cook until the sauce is thick. Don’t let the milk boil. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
To prepare the potatoes, place in a pot, and fill with water until the potatoes are submerged. Season with salt and bring to a boil, cooking until the potatoes are fork tender. Once they are cooked, slice or crumble them into smaller pieces.
To prepare the vegetables, bring a pot of water to boil and blanch the asparagus and snap peas. Saute the spring onion in a small pan with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. Combine the potatoes, asparagus, snap peas, spring onion and ricotta and set aside to use as filling.
To make the pesto, bring a pot of water to a boil and have an ice water bath ready. Blanch the basil and shock it in cold water. Squeeze all excess water from leaves, and puree in a blender; add the garlic, extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt. Puree until smooth, adding a tablespoon or two of ice water.
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 2 tablespoons salt. Set up an ice bath next to the stovetop. Drop the pasta into the boiling water, 6 or 7 pieces at a time (or according to dry pasta package cooking time), and cook until tender, about 1 minute. Transfer to the ice bath to cool, then drain on kitchen towels, laying the pasta flat.
Preheat the oven to 190°C. Layer a baking pan with béchamel sauce until the bottom is covered.
Add a thin layer of the vegetable ricotta mixture and pesto and sprinkle some grated Parmigiano Reggiano, then cover with the next layer of cooked lasagne sheets. Keep layering ingredients until you have created at least 4 layers of lasagne. Top with the two sauces (pesto and béchamel) and additional Parmigiano.
Bake for about 35 minutes until the top layer is golden brown. Serve warm, and enjoy!