This lasagne recipe has been evolving for about 15 years. It started off pretty bland but I think it’s nearly perfected. The *exciting ingredients* of porcini mushrooms and soy sauce give it a richness that has even fooled meat eaters in to thinking it is not vegetarian…although obviously you could swap the veggie mince for the real stuff if you prefer. You will need a large pan to make the sauce. If you have any sauce left over then it goes well with pasta or a jacket potato. Hope you like it! My boyfriend reckons it tastes best the following day. Serves 4 – 6 depending on appetite.
3 tablespoons of olive oil (or enough to keep the veg from cooking and not sticking to the pan)
3 cloves of chopped/crushed garlic
Teaspoon of dried mixed herbs
200g veggie mince
40g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked according to pack instructions and finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 courgette, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
Half a tube of tomato puree
2 tablespoons of soy sauce (and possibly more, according to taste!)
2 veggie stock cubes to crumble in
Salt and pepper
(Optional – a big glug of red wine, added at same point as chopped tomatoes)
Very large knob of butter
1 1/2 tablespoons of plain flour
Approx 300ml milk, more if necessary
180g cheddar cheese, grated
Lasagne sheets (enough for 2 layers)
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 / 190 degrees. Put the olive oil in a pan and add the crushed garlic and herbs. Cook for 30 seconds then add the pepper, carrots and veggie mince for a few minutes. Add the (soaked) mushrooms, onion and courgette, stirring until the vegetables are all starting to soften but still slightly tender (approx 10 – 15 mins, you may need to add more olive oil). Add the chopped tomatoes, soy sauce, tomato puree and crumbled veggie stock cubes and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add some water if necessary, or red wine if you prefer, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan and then add the flour, stirring constantly, so the mixture is thick but not sticking together. Very gradually add the milk, until the sauce is thick, well combined and easy to stir. Add 2/3 of the cheese. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Put half of the vegetable sauce in the bottom of an ovenproof dish and top with the lasagne sheets. Carefully pour on half of the cheese sauce, so it completely and evenly covers the lasagne sheets. Pour the remaining half of the vegetable sauce on top, then the remaining lasagne sheets, then the remaining cheese sauce. Finally top with the grated cheese.
Cook the lasagne for approx 50 mins, until the topping is golden brown and a knife slides very easily in to the lasagne.
Serve with salad.
Soy sauce (an *exciting ingredient*)
Soy sauce does not just work well in oriental style dishes. It’s great for adding to tomato based sauces/dishes to give the flavour more depth, especially in the absence of meat!