sharing recipes from one generation to the next
Those following restricted diets often come off second best at large sit down catered dinner functions. I understand as well as the next person that if 5 people request a vegetarian, vegan or gluten free option when you’re cooking for 200 people, those few can be treated as an afterthought.
It was a dinner scenario just like this that led to the development of this elegant, tasty, dish that can be varied according to needs, prepared well ahead and placed into the oven to heat through while all the service madness is happening, or plated and served as soon as the noodles have cooked and the vegetables grilled.
My chief taster loves traditional lasagne, I can take or leave it. This version of lasagne is a good compromise, perfect for the warmer months and it keeps us both happy. I make the lasagne with wheat noodles for him, with gluten free noodles for me.
1 eggplant (aubergine)
1 red capsicum
1 1/2 cups tomato passata well seasoned
1/2 cup basil pesto
6- 8 lasagne noodles, cooked to the manufacturers instruction
90g White cheese, chèvre, feta, ricotta or fiore di latte (can be omitted)
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Fresh basil leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Slice the eggplants about 1 cm thick, sprinkle them with salt and allow to drain for
20 – 30 minutes. Repeat the process with the zucchinis.
Char the skin of the red capsicum, then immediately put it into a sealed plastic container to loosen the skin. When cool enough to handle, remove the charred skin and the seed from the capsicums and tear into large pieces
Remove the pips from the olives and finely dice.
Rinse the eggplants and zucchinis, pat dry on a tea towel, brush the cut surfaces lightly with olive oil, then char grill until soft. Cook the lasagne sheets to the manufacturers instructions, then plunge them into iced water until ready to construct the lasagne.
Lighly oil individual baking dishes, then spoon a small amount of passata over the base. Lay half a lasagna sheet on the passata, add an eggplant slice and a smear of pesto. Add another half a lasagne sheet, some zucchini slices, crumbles feta and a smear of passata. Add another half a lasagne sheet, some red capsuicum and a scattering of olives. Continue layering until the ingredients are used or until you are happy with the serving sizes, a large size for him, a smaller serve for her. Finish with a generous spoonful of passata and some crumbled cheese.
Loosley cover the dishes with aluminium foil. Poke a few steam vents into the covering then bake for 30 minutes.
To serve, top with a chiffonade of fresh basil leaves.
Preserved artichoke hearts
Love that you chargrill or blacken your peppers, as I do. I’m no longer on gas so it’s taken a while to figure out how to use my electric grill/broiler to get the same effect. Was so excited when I finally mastered that one!
….I’ve tried baking, grilling, blanching, peeling with a potato peeler, but the gas jet (and the BBQ) are by far the best way to prepare red peppers. I can imagine your relief!
Beautiful. Does it take a long time to put together like traditional lasagna?
The construction is quick. Preparing all the elements takes a little time. It’s a good dish to make if you already have the pesto and passata to hand.
I do love the look of this – and deconstructed! I like that a lot I am trying to work out how to deconstruct a fish pie at the moment…
Thanks, it’s fun to reinvent much loved dishes. While I respect tradition enormously, humans do have a knack for being excited by what’s new! Go for it……😃
Ingredients are marvelous, and love it with pasta. Yum!
Thanks, it’s a nice fresh take on lasagne. 😉