The first time I made a vegetarian lasagne I was bitterly disappointed; I hadn't realised how much steak mince contributes to the flavour and substituting the mince with vegetables and vegetarian mince didn't have the same effect. Determined not to give up, I upped the ingredients using extra red wine, oregano, basil, pieces of (vegetarian) Lincolnshire sausage, Worcestershire sauce, buffalo mozzarella and creme fraiche. Much better.
I tend to make two lasagnes from the quantities specified and save one for later in the week. I find that lasagne tastes even better when cooked the second time around.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Grill the sausages for 10-15 minutes then slice thinly and put to one side.
- Chop the onion, crush the garlic and add to a saucepan with a large splash of olive oil. Fry on a low heat for around 10 minutes but make sure that the onion and garlic don't brown.
- Add a large glass of red wine and simmer for a minute to allow the alcohol to evaporate.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, a pinch of sugar, oregano, chopped mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, seasoning and tomato purée. Simmer for at least 20 minutes. Add the vegetarian mince, sliced sausages and basil during the last five minutes of cooking. Taste the bolognaise and add more seasoning if required.
- While the bolognaise is simmering, slice the peppers, aubergine and courgettes then place on a large baking tray with a generous coating of olive oil and a sprinkling of oregano. Roast for around 15 minutes or until they just start to colour.
- Melt a large knob of butter in another saucepan and add the flours, whisking them into the butter to form a paste. Add a small amount of milk to loosen the paste and keep adding more milk while whisking until the mixture starts to come together into a smooth sauce. Add the grated cheese, nutmeg, seasoning and a little more milk if the sauce is getting too thick. Once the cheese has melted, add the creme fraiche and mix well. Remove from the hob.
- Spoon a small amount of the bolognaise into an ovenproof dish (I use two 28cm dishes - see picture) and layer some of the aubergines, courgettes and peppers over it. Add a lasagne sheet (I prefer the fresh ones as they're guaranteed to be nice and soft after cooking).
- Add another layer of the bolognaise and vegetables as before, followed by another pasta sheet. Repeat the process until you have three (thin) layers of bolognaise and have used three sheets of pasta. Finally top with the white sauce and hand torn mozzarella.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or if you want to cook the lasagnes later, store in the fridge then bake for 30-35 minutes.
Serve stuffed mushrooms as an excellent accompaniment to this dish.