I'm adapting and editing this recipe from the original one published in February 2012, due to the fact that I've discovered the filling cooks much more nicely in the slow-cooker.
One of the staples of most pub menus and a reliable dish to produce on mass and in a hurry for vegetarians anywhere. But good God, it's boring. I get so fed up of mushrooms, broccoli and carrots stagnating in a heavy tomato sauce and then drenched in a non-descript bechemal sauce. When I make vegetarian lasagne, I tend to make it with quorn mince, and whoever I serve it for, absolutely loves it. This always surprises me because;
- I'm a decent cook but certainly not Delia
- it's vegetarian and people normally complain if I enforce a non-meat dish on them.
However, the serving dish is scraped clean as people always go back for more. And despite the fact that my mother-in-law once highlighted that it wasn't a proper vegetarian lasagne because it didn't use vegetables, she wolfs it down too.
Saying all this, last week I had half a humble butternut squash that needed using up and having had risotto the night before (and not in the mood to make pastry for tomato and butternut squash pies), I decided to make a lasagne using the bizarre orange vegetable.
- Chop up the butternut squash, boil for 10 minutes until starting to go tender, strain and add a tin of chopped tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper. Stir through.
- Amendment (22/04/12): Chop up the butternut squash and add to the slow cooker, with a tin of chopped plum tomatoes, two tablespoons of mango chutney and a generous teaspoon of wholegrain mustard. Leave it to simmer away on low for four hours. The butternut squash will be tender but retain it's shape and the mango and mustard will have infused into the sauce creating a mix of sweet and sharp.
- The ingredients for the bechamel sauce are the same as for any, however when melting the butter, add spinach to it to wilt. To this, add a spoonful of cornflour, stir together and then add the milk, mixing everything with a balloon whisk. Once it starts to thicken up, add a handful of cheese; goats cheese is the obvious one for me with spinach, but cheddar works well if you haven't got any.
- Place a lasagne sheet (I use fresh egg pasta as it cooks quicker) on the base of the dish, then spoon over half of the tomato and butternut squash mix. Add a pasta sheet on top, a layer of spinach sauce to cover this, another pasta layer, the remainder of the butternut squash mix, another pasta sheet, more spinach sauce to cover, another pasta layer and cover the top with spinach sauce. Sprinkle cheese over the top and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
I remember watching This Morning while on maternity leave, and Gino d'Acampo said you should let lasagne rest for ten minutes or so once out of the oven. I agree, it solidifies a little more and is easier to serve, retaining its heat well.
Serve with lollo rosso or another curly lettuce.
I'm linking this up to Reluctant Housedad's Recipe Shed, click below for more vegetarian recipes.
I'm also linking it up to Slow Cooker Sunday on Mediocre Mum