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Vegetarian spinach and Ricotta Lasagne

Most Italian regions have their own versions of  lasagne, Britain's are also very fond of lasagne and most restaurants have a version on their menu, our version is loaded with tomatoes, ricotta, spinach and lots of herbs 

Tomato sauce

Béchamel sauce

Spinach & ricotta filling

For the lasagne

How to make vegetarian lasagne

  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC.  Prepare your lasagne dish by lightly greasing the sides with a sunflower oil.
  2. To make the tomato sauce: heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy bottomed non-stick saucepan.  Cook the onion and garlic, stirring for about 5 minutes until translucent.  Add the oregano, sea salt, organic Fairtrade black pepper and tinned organic tomatoes.  Cook over a medium heat for 30 – 45 minutes until the tomatoes have become a nice thick texture.  Add the chopped parsley and set aside.
  3. To make the béchamel sauce: pour the milk into a large, heavy-bottomed non-stick saucepan.  Add the bay leaves, onion and organic Fairtrade nutmeg powder and gently bring to the boil and then take off the heat just as the bubbles start appearing.  In a separate saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour.  Beat well with a wooden spoon and cook for 2 minutes.  Now this is the bit to be patient with, to ensure that you get a good smooth sauce.  Add a little bit of the milk to the flour mixture and combine really well.  When all the milk has been absorbed and the lumps are gone, add a little bit more.  Continue with this until all the milk has been added, blending in with your wooden spoon all the time.
  4. To make spinach & ricotta filling: steam the spinach until wilted (if fresh) or if frozen heat through either in a saucepan or the microwave.  Drain, squeeze out any excess water and chop coarsely.  Transfer to a mixing bowl.  Add the ricotta, beaten eggs, garlic and Parmesan.  Season with sea salt, black pepper and a big pinch of Fairtrade nutmeg powder.  Mix well and set aside.  As an alternative you could use aubergine which has been thinly sliced and shallow fried, together with the ricotta and other ingredients.
  5. Blanch the pasta in salted boiling water for 3 minutes.  Drain.
  6. Spread half the béchamel sauce over the bottom of the lasagne dish.  Layer ¼ of the pasta over the sauce, overlapping them slightly.  Spread half of the tomato sauce over the pasta and top with half of the mozzarella.  Layer another quarter of the pasta over this and spread half of the spinach & ricotta.  Continue to layer with pasta, tomato sauce, mozzarella, pasta and spinach & ricotta mixture.  Spread the remaining béchamel sauce over the top and dot with mozarella.  Cover with foil.
  7. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue baking until bubbling which should take another 15 minutes or so.  Remove from the oven and serve.


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