Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

We had a lot of produce to get through from our CSA box.  And I had been thinking about trying out a vegetable lasagna with bechamel sauce because we had a similar delicious version in Venice this summer.  This one turned out very nicely.  The cream sauce makes it feel like comfort food, very warm and luxurious.  But it’s also stuffed full of vegetables so it’s pretty healthy.

One of the main vegetables in this lasagna is eggplant.  I’m not a huge fan of eggplant on its own, but we got one in our CSA box that I needed to use.  The recipe calls for roasting the vegetables first, which deepens the flavor and gives them a chewier texture ( I especially preferred this texture with the eggplant).  I’d definitely recommend this lasagna, especially if you have extra produce you need to use up.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna (adapted from epicurious)
makes 8 servings

1 medium eggplant
2-3 summer squash
2 red bell peppers
3-4 plum tomatoes
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and some liquid squeezed out
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk (I used 2 cups whole, and 1 1/2 cups skim milk to save a few calories and grams of fat)
1 cup Fontina cheese, coarsely grated
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
1 teaspoon dried thyme
6-9 fresh or no boil lasagna noodles

Preheat oven to 425.  Slice eggplant and squash lengthwise into ~1/2 inch slices.  Quarter the bell peppers and remove the seeds and membrane.  Rub veggies on both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Arrange them in a single layer in the pan, you might need two pans for this.  Roast for 15-20 minutes and then take out the eggplant and squash.  Continue roasting the peppers for 10 more minutes, then remove the peppers and put them in a plastic bag.  Tie the top and let them sit until they are cool enough to handle.  When you take them out of the bag the skins should peel off easily.

Allow the veggies to cool while you make the bechamel sauce.  Melt the butter in a large pan.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds – 1 minute until it smells delicious.  Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly.  Continue whisking as you slowly add the milk, and bring the mixture to a boil.  Cook for 8 minutes more, stirring often.

Remove the sauce from the heat and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes.  Add the cheeses, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.

Soak noodles in water until just pliable, ~10 minutes, if using no-boil noodles.  I had some pasta dough in the freezer, so I rolled that into flat sheets and used the fresh noodles, which don’t need to be soaked first.

Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a baking pan, the layer all the eggplant on top.  Place 2-3 noodles on top of the eggplant and spread another 1/2 cup of sauce on top of the noodles.

Next I layered the squash and the spinach.  Cover with another layer of noodles and then another layer of sauce.

I used the roasted peppers and tomatoes for the final layer.  If you haven’t noticed yet, I had a color theme going with each layer.  It’s certainly not necessary to layer the vegetables in coordinating colors, but it made me happy and looked pretty, so that’s what I did.

Place the rest of the noodles over top of the peppers and tomatoes, and spread the rest of the sauce across the top of the lasagna.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and bubbly.  Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for about 20 minutes before cutting, so that the layers have time to settle.

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