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This is a really good veggie lasagne filled with curly kale and garlicky mushrooms – delicious! It is also much easier to put together than the usual meaty version and tastes much more luxurious.

Kale and mushroom lasagne – to serve 6

  • 300g curly kale, stalks removed
  • 30g butter
  • 500g mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • a few sprigs of thyme, leaves only, chopped
  • 175g lasagne sheets (fresh if possible)
  • 20g Parmesan, grated
  • olive oil

For the béchamel sauce 

  • 750ml full-fat milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • a few black peppercorns
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard

Heat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Heat the milk with the bay leaf, onion, celery and peppercorns until almost simmering. Take off the heat and leave aside to infuse.

Roughly shred the kale. Put into a large saucepan and just cover with cold water. Add salt. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes, or until just tender. Drain well and set aside.

Heat half the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add half the mushrooms and season. Increase the heat and fry, stirring, until the liquid released has evaporated and the mushrooms are starting to brown and caramelise. Stir in half the garlic and half the thyme, cook for another minute, then remove to a bowl. Repeat with the rest of the mushrooms, garlic and thyme and set aside.

Gently reheat the milk, then strain. Heat the butter for the béchamel in a large saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook gently for a couple of minutes. Take off the heat. Add about a quarter of the hot milk and beat vigorously until smooth. Add the rest of the milk in about 3 batches, until you have a smooth sauce. Put the pan back on the heat and cook for  a few minutes, stirring and allowing the sauce to bubble gently, until thickened. Stir in the mustard, then season well.

Stir roughly half of the béchamel sauce into the kale.

Spread half the remaining sauce over the bottom of an ovenproof dish (approx. 28 x 22cm). Layer a third of the lasagne sheets in the dish, then spoon the kale over the top. Add another layer of lasagne, then add the mushrooms,. Finish with a final layer of pasta and the rest of the sauce.

Scatter the cheese over the top and add a trickle of oil. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden. Serve right away.

Wine Suggestion: We went for a red Burgundy from a lesser appellation (Santenay) in Burgundy with five years of age. It had a delightful earthiness and red forest fruit character which really complemented the flavours of the mushroom and kale.

(Original recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg Everyday!, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2011.)

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