Lasagne, an Italian delicacy, is a layered pasta dish filled with a perfect blend of textures and flavours. As the pot unravels the different textures of vegetables, cheese, garlic, sauces and herbs leave you wanting for more. Making of Lasagna is more of an art, since it involves a variety of techniques and a careful construction, it can neither be too soggy nor too stiff. This flexible and satisfying dish can be virtually altered to cater to almost anyone’s liking. More often than may not get the lasagna sheets, fret not, making this is no great shakes. Here is an interesting recipe to get a “slice of Italy” on your plate!! Right from the scratch!!
And yes, lasagna is treated as plural… so don’t get confused! Let’s make lasagne!
How to Make Vegetarian Lasagne
Here is the recipe for vegetable lasagna
For the Red Sauce
- Tomatoes (Red and Ripe, Medium Sized) – 10 no.s
- Garlic – 1 tbsp (Finely chopped )
- Onion – 1 Finely chopped
- Salt – to taste
- Sugar Italian Herbs – 1tsp
- Olive oil – 1tbsp
How to make the Red sauce
Blanch the tomatoes, peel and pulp them. In a pan add the oil, once heated, add the chopped garlic and onions. After it turns transparent, add the tomato pulp along with the salt, sugar and herbs. Let it cook for about five to eight minutes, till it thickens up. Once it thickens, cool and keep aside.
For the White Sauce
- Corn Flour – 2 tbsp
- All purpose Flour – 1tbsp
- Milk – 2 cups
- Pepper – 1 tsp
- Butter – 1 tbsp
- Salt – To taste
How to make the White sauce
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, add butter and let it melt, to this combine corn flour along with the all-purpose flour. Saute for a minute, ensure it does not change colour. Remove from heat, pour in the milk to this mixture, add salt and pepper. In a low flame keep stirring till the mixture starts thickening and coating the back of the spatula. The sauce becomes almost glossy at this stage; turn off the stove. Let the sauce cool. You will notice that the sauce thickens further on cooling.
For the Lasagna Filling
- Onions – 1 cup
- Carrots – 1 cup
- Capsicum – 1 cup
- Mushroom – 2 cups
- Baby Corn – 1 cup
- Spinach – 3 cups
- Chilli Flakes- 1tbsp
- Salt – To taste
- Mozarella Cheese – 2 cups (grated)
How to Prepare the Lasagna Filling
In a non stick pan add olive oil, add onions and saute; once it turns transparent, add finely diced carrots, capsicum and sliced corn. Saute for another 3 minutes. To this add sliced mushrooms, spinach, salt and chilli flakes. Cook till the mixture is dry and void of water content. Transfer contents and let it cool. You can add vegetables of your choice which may blend it with the Italian flavour. Few suggestions could be Zuchini, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, aubergine etc.
For the Lasagna Sheets
- Semolina (Fine) – 2 cups
- Olive Oil – 1 tbsp
- Water (Hot) – 3tbsp
- A pinch of Salt
- All purpose flour to dust while making the sheets
How to Make Lasagna Sheets
Combine semolina, olive oil and add hot water little at a time. When the mixture starts coming together, add water cautiously in case more is required. Knead for at least 20 minutes, till it starts stretching. Press well with the palm and extend outwards when you knead the dough. Wrap up the dough using a cling film and let it rest for about half an hour. After the resting period, take about half portion of the dough and knead well again. On a clean work area dust some all purpose flour and start rolling the dough. Roll it out extremely thin, till it’s almost transparent. Cut it in to strips, according to the size of your baking dish. Meanwhile boil water in a wide mouthed utensil.
Once the water starts boiling add the strips four or five at a time. In about 40 to 50 seconds you’ll find that the sheets raise above and starts floating. This indicates that the sheet is cooked. Immediately remove from water and transfer to a bowl of ice cold water. Strain and keep aside. Ensure you leave the sheets stretched individually on a greased surface, so that they do not stick to each other. Keep in mind that once the sheets are done, do not leave them open or exposed to air for a long time, since they dry out too fast. Once you make the sheets, just start constructing the lasagna without much delay.
How to Make the Lasagna
In a dish, smear olive oil. Arrange the first layer of lasagna sheets carefully. On top of this spread a liberal amount of the red sauce. To this add a layer of vegetable filling. Now carefully place the second layer of sheets. Over this layer goes the white sauce, sprinkle a generous amount of mozarella cheese along with some herbs and chilli flakes. Seal this layer with another set of sheets. Now again cover with red sauce and vegetables. Time to conceal this layer with pasta sheets, add a copious amount of cheese to the top-most layer, along with some chilli flakes and herbs.
Seal the dish with an aluminium foil and place it in a preheated oven. Let it bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees, then unwrap the foil and bake for another 10 mts. Once it is baked, you will witness a glossy and crispy layer on top.
The heartwarming smell of the freshly baked lasagna almost takes you into a trance. This delicious, hot, tangy and cheesy Lasagna is ready to be plated. Carefully cut a portion and scoop it from the bottom to get the fullness of flavours. Like I said, making a lasagna is almost an art and I’m sure you will be quite enthralled at the master piece you have just created. Dig in!! Bon appetit…
— Recipe and Images Shared by Gayathri Iyer