Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Vegetable Lasagna

We had some frozen leftover tomato sauce. So I decided to try Vegetable Lasagna, using bechamel sauce. Which, by the way, I've never made before. (Every lasagna recipe I've used in the past has managed to avoid bechamel.) I used the Italian Cooking Encyclopedia for guidance. (I love how the book has step by step pictures.)

It turns out I love bechamel sauce with cheese.

2 cups tomato sauce
1 zucchini (courgette), sliced
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
10 lasagna noodles (I used egg noodles with spinach)
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 bay leaf
1 cup milk
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese
1/2 to 1 cup mozzarella cheese

Mix the zucchini and spinach in with the tomato sauce and simmer in a skillet.

For the bechamel sauce, heat the milk in a pan with the bay leaf and nutmeg.

In a separate pan, heat the butter until it melts. Add the flour and stir until mixed.

Add the milk mixture to the flour and continue stirring to remove the lumps. Beat the mixture over a low heat until it begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and add salt and pepper.

Cook the pasta. It should be undercooked by about four minutes. (The noodles I used recommended cooking for 10 minutes, so I cooked for six.) Drain and then rinse the noodles in cold water. When they're cool enough to handle, separate them to prevent sticking.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Once all the tomato sauce, bechamel sauce and pasta are ready, begin assembling the lasagna. Spoon a tablespoon of the sauce in the bottom on the pan. Add the noodles, half of the vegetable sauce and a layer of cheese. Add another layer of pasta, the rest of the vegetable sauce and then add the bechamel sauce. Sprinkle additional cheese on top.

Bake the lasagna uncovered for 20 minutes, until the top is browned. Remove from the oven and allow to set for five minutes before serving.

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