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Lasagna Vegetariana (with vegetables)
By Chef Roberto Maggioni

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplants
  • 3 zucchini
  • 5 bell peppers
  • 1/2 lb button mushrooms
  • 5 leeks
  • 1/2 lb ground Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 4 packs dry lasagna
  • 1/4 gal whole milk
  • 1/2 cup Paradiso EVOO
  • 2oz flour
  • salt pepper
  • nutmeg

Preparation

1. Heat oven to 400º.

Prepare the vegetables

2. Wash all the vegetables. Slice the zucchini lengthwise and the eggplant in rounds, about a ¼ in thick for both, and grill them in a grill pan for about 2-3 minutes per side.
3. Place the peppers in a roasting pan or on a baking sheet, cover and roast at 400* for about 10 minutes. When ready, remove the skin and discard the seeds. Slice the peppers into fourths lengthwise. Set aside.
4. Thinly slice the leeks, discarding the green portion. Slice the mushrooms. Heat about 4 tbsp Paradiso extra virgin olive oil in a sautee pan and sautee the leeks and mushrooms.

Prepare the bechamel

5. In one pot warm the milk until just about to boil, and in a separate sauce pan mix the flour and the Paradiso extra virgin olive oil to make a “roux”, stir until smooth and cook about 5-6 minutes over medium heat. Add milk to the roux 1 cup at a time and stir gently and constantly on the fire until the milk thickens – about 1 minute, but eyeball it. You can use a silicone or plastic whisk to get out any clumps.
6. Season with salt and nutmeg and set aside.

Prepare the lasagna

7. Precook the lasagna by boiling it for 5 minutes in salted water, then chill each sheet by placing it in a roasting pan filled with cold water (you may have to change the water once every few sheets), and pat dry between 2 cheese cloths. Leave the sheets between the cheese cloths while you are building the lasagna, so they do not dry out.
8. In a rectangular or oval pan, put a thin layer of bechamel at the bottom, cover with a layer of lasagna and a single layer of eggplant, then cover with a layer of bechamel and Parmigiano Reggiano. Repeat the operation with the zucchini, peppers, mushrooms and leeks.
9. Place the lasagna in the oven, heated to 380* and cook for 45 min until gold on the top. Cut and serve. Serving note: for a beautiful presentation, save some bechamel to serve a few tablespoons underneath each portion of lasagna. Wine recommendation: Umbria, Sangiovese 2007

Buon appetito!
Chef Roberto Maggioni