Vegetarian Lasagne

Serves:  6-8;  Prep:  40 mins;  Cook:  40 mins

Ingredients:  1 lb/450g dried green lasagne; salt; olive oil; 3 lb/1.5kg fresh spinach; 1 egg, lightly beaten (for the spinach balls; 2 tbsp/30ml dried breadcrumbs; 5oz/150g fresh grated Parmesan cheese; nutmeg; freshly ground black pepper; 2 eggs, lightly beaten (for coating the aubergines and courgettes; 2 large aubergines, cut lenghtwise into 1/4in./4mm slices; 4oz/100g white flour; 2 large courgettes, cut lengthwise into 1/4in / 5mm slices; 11oz/300g fresh oyster mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms, sliced; 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped; 1 tbsp/15ml fresh chopped parsley; double quantity of tomato sauce (see recipe above); 11oz/300g fontina cheese, cut into chunks; 7 eggs, lightly beaten (for assembling the lasagne)

  • Preheat the oven to Mark 5 / 375oF/190oC.
  • Cook the dried pasta, adding the pieces one by one to boiling water to which you have added salt and 1 tbsp of oil, to prevent the lasagne sticking together.  Allow 8-10 minutes for it to cook.  Carefully remove the pasta and then pat dry on clean tea towels.
  • To make the spinach balls:  cook the spinach in a little water until tender, drain well and chop finely.  Mix the spinach with 1 tbsp beaten egg, the dried breadcrumbs and 1oz/25g of the Parmesan cheese.  Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.  Using your hands, shape spinach mixture into walnut-sized balls.  Heat oil to deep fry spinach balls, until lightly browned on all sides.  remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on paper towels.
  • To prepare the aubergines, put half of the other 2 beaten eggs in a dish.  Dip the aubergine slices into the flavour and then into the beaten egg.  Heat enough oil to deep fry the aubergine, until golden.  remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on paper towels.
  • Prepare the courgettes in the same way as the aubergines, dipping them into the flour and the beaten egg, then deep frying them.  then set them aside on paper towels.
  • To prepare the mushrooms, heat 1 tbsp oil in a separate frying pan, add the mushroom slices and fry briefly.  Sitr in the garlic and parsley, with salt and pepper to taste.
  • To assemble the lasagne, put 3-4 tbsp tomato sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish.  cover with a layer of pasta.  Next add a layer each of the mushrooms, the courgettes, aubergine and spinach balls.  Add some of the fontina cheese.  Now add 3-4 tbsp of tomato sauce, 3-4 tbsp of the beaten eggs and a generous sprinkling of the remaining Parmesan cheese.
  • Staring with a layer of pasta, repeat the sequence of layers until all the ingredients are used up, finishing with a layer of vegetables.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.  Then cut into portions and serve.
  • Tip:  You can prepare this dish up until the point when it’s ready to go into the oven.  Store it in the fridge for up to 24 hours, then bake when required.
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