Summer Vegetable Lasagne

Oh man. This Summer vegetable lasagne is quite possibly the tastiest vegetarian lasagne I have ever had the pleasure of making.  Why?  Because the contents was pretty much cooked by the oven and all I had to do was chargrill thick slices of zucchini and make an incredible pesto laced bechamel.  Yes.  You heard correctly.  A deliciously cheesy, pesto laced bechamel that raised this Summer Vegetable Lasagne to heights I never thought possible.  I guarantee you will make this again and again, it was that good.

Prep time:  40 Minutes

Cooking time:  1 Hour 15 Minutes

Serves 6-8

For the Summer Vegetable Lasagne:

500gm of fresh Lasagne sheets (they come in 375gm packets so I freeze the leftover in a zip lock bag for later use)

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

700gm of kent pumpkin, peeled and cut into chunks

500gm of assorted grape or cherry tomatoes

1 small red onion, peeled and cut into wedges

6 oregano sprigs, leaves removed & stalks discarded

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tbs of caramelised balsamic vinegar

3 large zucchini’s, sliced thickly lengthways

1/2 a cup of grated parmesan cheese

1 cup of grated tasty cheese

Dried oregano & sweet paprika for sprinkling on top

For the Bechamel:

80gm of butter

1/2 a cup of plain flour

4 cups of milk

1/2 tsp of grated nutmeg (fresh is best but dried will do)

1/2 a cup of tasty cheese

Sea salt and black pepper

1 cup of Basil Pesto

To prepare the Summer Vegetable Lasagne, preheat the oven to 180°C and line two large oven trays with baking paper.  In one tray scatter over the assorted tomatoes, red onion, oregano leaves and lemon zest and drizzle with a good amount of extra virgin olive oil, the caramelised balsamic vinegar & season well with sea salt & pepper.

Place the pumpkin in the other tray and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper.  Place both trays in the oven and cook until the tomatoes are blistering and the pumpkin is golden & tender, approximately 35-40 minutes.  Once cooked, remove the trays from the oven and use a potato masher to gently squash the tomato mixture then give it a bit of stir to emulsify the oil, tomato juice and caramelised balsamic.  Then squash the pumpkin to a nice chunky pumpkin smash.

While the trays are in the oven, heat a griddle pan and cook the zucchini on a nice high heat until it is tender and nicely chargrilled.  Pop on a plate and set aside.

To make the bechamel, melt the butter in a large saucepan.  While the butter is melting, season with salt and pepper and add the grated nutmeg.  Once the butter is melted and bubbling, sprinkle over the flour.  Mix well with a whisk and allow the mixture to cook for a minute or two, before adding the milk a little at a time and continuing to whisk.  The mixture will thicken very quickly so keep whisking to avoid lumps.  When all the milk is added to the mixture, allow it to come up to a simmer before adding the parmesan.  Stir right into the corner of the pan until the cheese has melted and then stir the pesto through the bechamel.  Remove from the heat and get ready to assemble.

To assemble the Summer Vegetable Lasagne, drizzle the bottom of a large lasagne dish with a little oil and place a layer of lasagne sheets in the dish.  Spread over the pumpkin smash, spreading it evenly and right to the edges.  Place a layer of lasagne sheets on top of the pumpkin and pour in 1/3 of the pesto bechamel, then another layer of lasagne sheets.  Next, spread the tomato mixture evenly over the lasagne sheets and top with another layer of lasagne sheets.  Spread another 1/3 of the bechamel and top with more lasagne sheets.  Lastly, lay the chargrilled zucchini in the dish, overlapping if need be and season with a little salt & pepper.  Top with a last layer of lasagne and the remaining bechamel.  Sprinkle over the tasty and parmesan cheese and scatter over a little dried oregano and some sweet paprika before baking in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.  Remove the lasagne from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes before slicing into decent sized slabs.  Serve with a crisp green salad and crusty bread if you desire.

Are you a lasagne lover like me?  You might like to try this delicious Beef Brisket & Porcini Lasagne recipe