Few Italian dishes have seen more variations than Lasagna, each one is delicious, each one has a distinct character.
From The Big Book of Pasta, published by Parragon Books Ltd in 2007:
Lasagne alle Verdure – Vegetable Lasagna
- olive oil, for brushing
- 2 eggplants sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 4 zucchini, sliced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh marjoram
- 8 ounces grated mozzarella cheese
- 2 1/2 cups strained tomatoes
- 6 ounces dried no-precook lasagna sheets
- 2 1/2 cups Béchamel Sauce *
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmegiano cheese
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Brush a large ovenproof dish with olive oil.. Brush a large grill pan with olive oil and heat until smoking. Add half the eggplants and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, or until golden brown all over. Remove from the grill pan and drain on paper towels. Add the remaining eggplant slices and extra oil, if necessary, and cook for 8 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Melt the butter in a skillet and add the garlic, zuchini, parsley and marjoram. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the zucchini are golden brown. remove from the skillet and let drain on paper towels.
- Layer the eggplants, zuchini, grated mozzarella, strained tomatoes, and lasagna sheets in the dish; season with salt and pepper as you finish with a layer of lasagna. Pour over the Béchamel Sauce, making sure all the pasta is covered. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese and bake in the preheated oven 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately
* Béchamel Sauce
Makes about 1 quart
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 quart milk
- 2 teaspoons
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper (for a more Italian flavor, add ground nutmeg instead)
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, stir in the flour until smooth. Continue stirring as the flour cooks to a light, golden, sandy color, about 7 minutes.
- Increase heat to medium-high and slowly whisk in milk until thickened by the roux. Bring to a gentle simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering until the flour has softened and not longer tastes gritty, 10 to 20 minutes, then season with salt and pepper (or nutmeg).
Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!