Monday, September 26, 2011

Creamy Vegetable Lasagna

I'm not usually into creamy dishes, but this Lasagna is to die for. Instead of classic red sauce - which I have an amazing recipe for as well - it uses a bechamel sauce. It's not winning all the health awards out there but boy does it taste good.

Vegetable Lasagna
The Cook's Encyclopedia of Vegetarian Cooking

15-18 Sheets of lasagna noodles
1 medium onion, chopped finely
11/4 lb fresh or canned tomatoes, chopped
11/2 lbs sliced mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic
juice of 1/2 a lemon
11/2 grated Parmesan cheese

Bechamel Sauce
4 C milk
5 Tbs Butter
4 Tbs flour
Put a big pot of water on for the noodles and preheat the oven to 400. While the water comes to a boil, start by cooking the onions in olive oil over medium heat, until they are translucent. Add in the tomatoes and cook the mixture for about 7 more minutes, stirring it periodically. Meanwhile, heat about 3 tbs butter in a sauce pan and cook the mushrooms until they start to juice. Add the garlic and lemon and cook the mixture until most of the juices have evaporated and the mushrooms are browning.
Cook the lasagna noodles until they are only about half way done - probably about 4 minutes. You want them to still be a little crunchy so that they don't get soggy when the lasagna cooks. Spread the noodles out on a sheet of waxed paper to drain.

To make the bechamel, first put the milk on the stove to boil. Meanwhile, melt the butter over low heat in a shallow saucepan. Once the butter is ready, slowly stir in the flour to make a roux. It will appear a little gloopy at first, but just keep stirring. It should resemble a thick paste - don't add too much flour that it gets dry. Let it buble for about two minutes then remove it from the heat. Add the boiling milk and stir the mixture vigorously with a whisk to incorporate to roux into the milk. Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, and then boil it for about two minutes to allow it to thicken. Viola. 

Grease a shallow baking dish and assemble all of your layers: the tomatoes, the mushrooms, the noodles, the bechamel, and the cheese. Start with a thin layer of bechamel, and then place a layer of lasagna noodle on top of it. Spread some of the mushroom mixture on, and then another spoonful of bechamel. Top this layer with a light sprinkling of cheese, and then another batch of noodles. Repeat the process, this time adding tomatoes instead of mushrooms. Keep adding layers until the mixtures run out, and top it off with a layer of noodles, bechamel, and cheese.

Bake it for about 20 minutes and then allow it to cool for at least five. Enjoy!!

Also, I've cut the recipe in half many times and it works fine. The full recipe serves about 6 to 8 people!

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