I just want to say upfront that this is not a quick recipe to make, but is worth it in the end. You will need about an hour to prepare everything and then a further 45 minutes to bake the lasagne in the oven.
Butternut, Brinjal & Mushroom Lasagne
2 x brinjals
1 x whole butternut
1 x punnet of mushrooms
1 x bag of fresh basil
2 x cloves of garlic
1 x onion
1 x tin of tomatoes or tomato & onion mix
1 x cup grated cheddar cheese
2 x tablespoons butter
3 x tablespoons Maizena (flour will do as well)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. The first thing that needs to be done is to get that pesky whole butternut peeled and sliced. You can buy the butternut already peeled and diced into cubes, but this doesn’t layer nicely in the lasagne so I prefer using a whole butternut. I know what you are thinking, whole raw butternuts are one of the worst things to try and deal with in the kitchen. But never fear, I have finally found a way to peel and slice a butternut without losing a finger.
Place the whole butternut in a large pot of boiling water and put the lid half on. Leave it to boil in the pot for about 35 minutes or until the skin is soft and you can poke a knife through the butternut easily.
While the butternut is boiling we can get on to preparing everything else. Slice the brinjals so that you have thin circles. Fry the brinjal slices for a few minutes on each side in a hot pan with a touch of olive oil until they are a bit soft. You don’t have to cook them all the way through.
Remove the brinjals from the pan. Dice the onion and fry it in a bit of olive oil in the same hot pan. While the onions are frying, slice up the mushrooms and crush the garlic. Once the onions are nice and soft and look translucent add the tomato onion mix, mushrooms and garlic. Also add the basil. I usually just tear the leaves off the stalk and throw the them in just like that. If you like you can add in some salt and pepper now. Turn the heat down a bit and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
The next thing to prepare is the white sauce. Put 2 tablespoons of butter and 450ml of milk into a small pot on a medium heat. Mix 3 tablespoons of Maizena with a little water in a cup until the Maizena has dissolved in the water. Add that to the butter and milk in the pot. You can use flour instead of Maizena. I find that Maizena tends to be less lumpy than flour. Bring this slowly to a boil on a medium heat whilst whisking regularly. Keep an eye on this and whisk often because it can become thick and lumpy very quickly. As soon as it has come to a boil and has thickened, remove it from the stove. Once you have removed the pot from the heat add salt, pepper and grated nutmeg (about a third of a nutmeg).
By now the butternut should be ready. Remove the butternut from the heat and run it under some cold water to cool it down. Now that it is soft you can safely peel it without a fight. Cut the butternut in half, scoop out the seeds and then peel it with a potato peeler. Once you have your 2 peeled halves slice the butternut thinly.
Now that all the separate parts are ready we can get to the fun part, layering the lasagne! Grease a baking dish. The one that I use is quite deep and is approximately 25cm x 25cm. Start by placing a scoop or two of white sauce in the dish until the bottom of the dish is completely coated. Place two lasagne sheets on top of the white sauce. Make sure that the lasagne sheets don’t touch each other and don’t overlap, as they will not cook properly.
The next layer is the butternut. Only use half of the butternut slices. On top of that, half of the tomato/onion/mushroom sauce. Try and get the sauce to fill in all the gaps so each layer is packed without any air holes. Place half of the brinjals on top of that. Sprinkle a bit of oregano.
Now repeat the above layering process: white sauce, pasta sheets, butternut, tomato/onion/mushroom sauce, brinjals, oregano. Put one last layer of pasta sheets on top and coat that with white sauce. Make sure that the sheets are completely covered by the sauce so that it will cook properly.
Grate about a cup’s worth of cheese. Traditionally you are supposed to use Parmesan but I prefer cheddar. You can actually use whatever cheese you like. Scatter the cheese on top and then sprinkle that with some more oregano for the final touch.
Now pop it in the oven for 45 minutes and you will have a yummy veggie lasagne. This recipe feeds about 6. Even though I usually just cook for 2, this freezes really well. I usually freeze it into one-meal portions for those days when I get home late from work and really don’t feel like cooking. I hope you like it!Butternut, Brinjal & Mushroom Lasagne,