A RECIPE: Aubergine and Courgette Lasagna

Lasagna is one of my favourite foods- but I like it saucy and sloppy (like my mother made it). In the winter I always make up big batches of meat sauce, but being summer I wanted something to use up all the great produce I had.

I’m still in the process of developing the world’s best vegetarian lasagna- but in the meantime, this one comes pretty close. If you don’t like aubergine, roast thin slices of butternut squash instead. I based it on a recipe for Aubergine Lasagna found on a another blog site. I made some alterations, so that it’s a little saucier (but you can add less sauce, if you prefer) and I chargrilled my vegetables for added flavour. If you don’t have time for this though- or you just can’t be bothered (lets face it we all have those days.), I have given an option to roast your vegetables in the oven- but you shouldn’t skimp on the oil or your aubergine will dry out.

You can make your own tomato sauce really quickly. Soften and brown a finely chopped onion, in the last minute add 1 crushed garlic clove, Add two 400ml tins of chopped tomatoes, 1 tbsp tomato paste and a glass of wine (your choice). Let simmer for 30 minutes, then season to taste. Get this going before you start griddling your vegetables.

Enjoy.

Aubergine and Courgette Lasagna

Serves 6 women or 4 men

1 large aubergine, sliced into rounds 3/4 cm / 1/4 inch thick (no thicker)
1 courgette sliced into rounds 3/4 cm / 1/4 inch thick (no thicker)
olive oil
9 sheets of precooked lasagna or 3-4 large sheets of fresh lasagna

For the Bechamel (white) sauce

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
600ml/1 pint milk

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
800ml good quality tomato sauce, homemade is preferable
100g/4 oz ball Mozzarella cheese, sliced

1/ Turn the oven down to 350C/180F/Gas 4. Season and brush the slices with oil and chargrill on a griddle pan. If you don’t have a griddle pan then alternatively you can bake in the oven. Lay the squash and aubergine out on a baking tray, season with sea salt and fresh pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in the oven until softened and lightly golden in colour. This should take about 20-25 minutes depending on your oven and how spread out the vegetables are. Turn over once during cooking

2/ Meanwhile, make your bechamel sauce. Melt the butter over a low-medium heat and once it begins to gently bubble whisk in the flour. Whisk for 1 minute, until you have a smooth paste. Remove from the heat and gradually add the flour, whisking continually between each addition of milk- if you add it all at once you will have lumps.

3/ Return to the heat and stir with a wooden spoon over a low-medium heat until it comes up to the boil and thickens. Make sure that you let it bubble for a minute, which will get out the taste of flour. Season with Sea salt and fresh pepper.

4/ In a 20x30cm casserole dish preferably 2 inches thick spoon a layer of tomato sauce on the bottom. Lay down sheets of lasagna to cover. Top with a layer of aubergine and then a layer of courgette. Top with a third of the sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan. Lay another sheet of lasagna on top, cover with tomato sauce, then the vegetables, then the bechamel sauce and cheese. Repeat to fill your dish and use up all the ingredients.

5/ Top with Mozzarella and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until bubbling and golden. Let sit for a couple of minutes before serving with a green salad.

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