Making lasagne is a bit of a labour of love but if you take it in stages it can be assembled in advance and baked when you need it. Always worth the effort in our opinion. This veggie version is particularly good.
Wine Suggestion: we found the Rustenberg Chardonnay from Stellenbosch really matched this dish with it’s masterful balance of oak, fruit and freshness. This is one of South Africa’s classics and one of the best value Chardonnay’s we know. It is picked, crushed and gently settled before fermenting by itself (wild yeasts) and after gentle care in oak barrels on fine lees it is bottled. Only at this stage do they add a touch of sulphur to keep it stable in the bottle. A natural wine without the faults of other proponents of this term.
Roast Squash & Spinach Lasagne – serves 6
- 750g butternut squash
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 500g spinach, washed
- 1 tbsp butter
- whole nutmeg
- 6 fresh lasagne sheets
- 100g Parmesan, grated
FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 celery stick, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 400g tin cherry tomatoes
- 2 tsp light muscovado sugar
FOR THE BECHAMEL SAUCE:
- 500ml full-fat milk
- 6 peppercorns
- ½ onion
- 1 bay leaf
- 50g plain flour
- 50g butter
Heat your oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
Halve the squash, peel and deseed, then cut into slices about 1cm thick. Toss with the oil in a roasting tin, season well, then roast until tender and beginning to char at the edges – about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Soften the onion in the oil for 5 minutes, then add the celery and garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes & sugar, then leave to simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until you have a thick puree. Season.
Wash the spinach and put into a saucepan with the water that clings to the leaves. Place over a medium heat and toss for about 4 minutes or until completely wilted. Leave to cool, then squeeze as much water as you can out of the spinach with your hands. Chop and put into a pan with the butter, then gently heat and toss together so the spinach is coated in butter, season with salt, pepper and a good grating of nutmeg.
To make the bechamel, bring the milk to the boil in a pan with the peppercorns, onion and bay leaf. Set aside for 5 minutes to infuse, then strain into a clean pan. Add the flour & butter and whisk over a gentle heat until you have a thick smooth sauce.
Heat your oven again to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
To assemble the lasagne start by buttering a baking dish – about 1.4 litres capacity. Put a layer of roasted squash in the bottom followed by a layer of tomato sauce. Place lasagne sheets on top of this, making sure they don’t overlap (you can cut them with scissors to fit your dish). Add a layer of bechamel, followed by a handful of spinach and half the grated cheese. Top with more lasagne, pumpkin, tomato sauce, more lasagne and a final layer of bechamel. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top. Bake for 40 minutes or until bubbling and golden.
(Original recipe by Diana Henry in BBC Good Food Magazine, December, 2016.)