As I mentioned on Tuesday, lately I have been making some freezer-friendly food for friends. In this vein, I made some vegetable lasagne. I’m not 100% sure that it will freeze well, but there’s only one way to find out…
This recipe was given to me a few years ago by my grandma. It’s a family classic. Lasagne takes a while to make, but it’s pretty simple. It’s also a crowd-pleaser; it’s popular with pretty much everyone.
I think it’s a good one for having friends over on a weeknight, because you can make it on the weekend, then reheat it later in the week.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, quartered
3 cloves garlic, sliced or crushed
Pinch of dried chilli flakes or fresh chilli (optional)
1 x 700ml bottle Italian tomato sauce (or 2 cans of tomatoes, added to sauteed onion, reduced, and seasoned)
2 zucchini, chopped
1 eggplant, cubed
1 capsicum, chopped (seeds removed)
2 tablespoons basil, chopped (I used cretan savory from Otway Herbs instead)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 small onion, peeled and halved (optional)
5 cloves (optional)
1 bay leaf (optional)
1 litre milk
120g plain flour
180g parmesan cheese
nutmeg, to taste
white pepper, to taste
salt, to taste
Making & Baking
1 packet (250g) instant lasagne sheets
2 tbs parmesan cheese
- In a heavy-based large saucepan, sautee the onion and garlic in the olive oil. I sautee for a while on a low heat – at least 10 minutes (Add some chilli if you like here, I usually do).
- Add eggplant, zucchini, capsicum and tomato sauce.
- On a low heat, cook with the lid on for about 40 minutes. Stir about every 5 minutes to prevent sticking.
- Remove the lid and cook for a further 15 minutes at a slightly higher temperature to reduce the sauce a little.
- Season with salt and pepper and herbs, and set aside.
- If you like, you can flavour the milk by simmering the cloves, bay leaves an onion in the milk for about 5-10 minutes and then leaving it to cool. This is optional, though. (Now is also a good time to preheat the oven, to 170˚C.)
- Melt the butter over a low heat in a heavy-based saucepan. Mix in the flour to form a paste.
- Off the stove, add all the milk (strained free of herbs and spices if you added these earlier). It is not necessary to add the milk slowly, as is often thought. Whisk quickly.
- Return the saucepan to the stove, bring to the boil, and continue whisking for about 5 minutes. The sauce should be quite thick.
- Add the cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir until all the ingredients are incorporated.
Making & Baking:
- Butter the bottom and sides of the lasagne dish well.
- Arrange lasagne sheets on the bottom of the dish, breaking them to fit if need be.
- Add a layer of vegetable sauce, not too thickly.
- Add a layer of béchemel sauce, again, not too thickly.
- Continue until all is used up, ending with the béchemel sauce layer. Sprinkle parmesan on top.
- Cook at 170˚C until golden brown, approximately 45 minutes. Place the lasagne dish on a baking tray in case it boils over.
The lasagne is quite rich and cheesy, so it is best served with a nice crunchy green salad. This version usually fills up a large baking dish plus a small baking dish. About 10-12 serves.