Vegetable Lasagna 

Lasagna Vegeteraine

I have these moments when I am watching Food Network or Cooking Channel while eating some random snack like chips and think to myself  “oh I could just make that!” This happens more frequently than I’d like to admit. A week ago, it happened again while watching Extra Virgin. They were having some sort of neighborhood party in Gabriele’s restaurant. Do you watch Extra Virgin? What do you think of the show? This is the first recipe I’ve been inclined to make from their program.

Debi and Gabriele made Lasagna Vegeteriane during this episode and I decided that, I too, needed to make it. Gabriele made a point to note that American’s are the ones that added ricotta into lasagna and in Italy the traditional way is with a béchamel sauce.  Béchamel is one of the five mother sauces that every cook should have in their arsenal. A very important tip during the cooking process for the béchamel is to heat the milk prior to ladling it into your roux. You want to ladle in a little at a time to start with before incorporating the remainder of the warmed milk into your roux. This will help incorporate the two smoothly and keep you from having a lumpy sauce.

Even in the béchamel layer you can see the freshly grated nutmeg.

Béchamel Layer
Béchamel Layer

I found this recipe rather easy but it’s best to break it down by using mise en place. Next time I make this, I will definitely make the spinach portion and the béchamel a day ahead. This will also allow the two to develop a better flavor within that time-frame. I also decided to add two 16 ounce packages of sliced sautéed mushrooms in the middle layer. It’s best to sautée the mushrooms long enough so that their liquid reincorporates. You don’t want to add more liquid to the recipe as it will make the lasagna watery. I also liked that they used Barilla no boil Lasagna. It is important to cover all the noodles in sauce because it needs that sauce to cook the pasta completely. These noodles will expand to reach the edges of the baking dish while it cooks.

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I love that Gabriele uses fresh Mozzarella with the Parmesan cheese. I didn’t feel overly full after eating this like I normally would after a meat lasagna. I loved all the fresh veggies. The incorporated depth of flavor throughout from the nutmeg in the béchamel, fresh basil in the tomato sauce or the hint of red pepper flakes in the spinach are definitely noteworthy in this recipe.

Lasagna Vegeteraine
Lasagna Vegeteraine

If you aren’t going to consume the entire amount within the first serving or second serving, separate them by individual serving sizes and freeze. I will do this the following day once the lasagna has completely chilled for 24 hours. It’s a lot easier to work with once it’s cold. Wrap each individual serving size tightly in wax paper, then put each into their own sandwich size zip top bag. Remove all of the air from the zip top bag before sealing completely, then stack them into a tupperware container. I always put a post it note inside the container stating what it is including the date. This will always help with the guess-work later on. It’s great in a bind when you have nothing to eat and don’t have time to hit the grocery store. You get to enjoy your hard work on two separate occasions. I will definitely make this recipe again.

What did you make this weekend?

2 thoughts on “Vegetable Lasagna 

  1. Greek moussaka also uses bechamel instead of cheese; I wonder if other layered dishes like lasagna & moussaka (almost the same dish, anyway) use it? And I wonder why Americans use ricotta instead of bechamel? Just lazy? 🙂

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    1. I think that ricotta provides rich flavor just not the same as béchamel. If people are nervous about making the sauce it’s possible they use ricotta as fool-proof. I use ricotta and béchamel but it depends on my mood and what I’m trying to accomplish. 🙂

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