Vegetarian Cooking

Vegetarian Cooking — (1) Lasagne

(From selected vegetarian recipes we have made and offered to our temple. Since monastics who have taken certain precepts may not eat garlic and onions, we have made the dishes without those ingredients, but have left them in the recipes below if they belong to the original. We find fennel can very often substitute for the texture and flavor of onions, and has a pleasing gentle flavor. ) 

Winter Squash and Swiss Chard Lasagne:

[Adapted from a number of recipes including one from Gourmet magazine (2001)]

Ingredients for squash filling:
1 large onion, chopped [or substitute a chopped fennel bulb]
3 tablespoons butter (substitute olive or avocado oil if preferred)
2 pounds or 32 oz butternut, acorn, or other winter squash,  cut into 1-inch pieces
[1 large clove minced garlic, optional]
1 bunch swiss chard, cut into ribbons and its stalks chopped into small pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 chopped Tbl fresh sage
1 cup hazelnuts or pecans toasted , loose skins rubbed off hazelnuts with a kitchen towel, and coarsely chopped

For sauce:
[1 teaspoon minced garlic]
3 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups milk
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Fresh grated nutmeg to taste

For assembling lasagna:
2 cups Fontina cheese, grated (may substitute other cheese if preferred)
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (3 oz)
24 sheets no-boil lasagne [The actual amount depends of course on your pan]


Make filling:
Cook onion or fennel in butter in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add squash, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is just tender, about 10 minutes. Add the chard and cook 10 minutes. Smash the pieces of squash with the back of a large spoon. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, sage, and nuts. Set aside.

Make Sauce (while filling cooks):
Make sauce while squash cooks:
Cook garlic, if you are using, in butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, 1 minute. Whisk in flour and cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Add milk in a stream, whisking. Add bay leaf and bring to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 10 minutes or so. Whisk in salt and pepper, grate in the nutmeg, and remove from heat. Discard bay leaf. (Cover surface of sauce with wax paper if not using immediately.)

Assemble lasagne:
Preheat oven to 425°F.

–Toss cheeses together. Spread a generous layer of sauce in a 3 quart lasagne pan (13×9) and cover with approximately 6 pasta sheets (you can leave a bit of space between the sheets as needed to fit). —-Spread with 1/4 of the remaining sauce and one third of filling, then sprinkle with a heaping 1/2 cup cheese. –Repeat layering 2 more times, beginning with pasta sheets and ending with cheese. Top with remaining 6 pasta sheets, remaining sauce, and remaining cheese.
–Tightly cover baking dish with buttered foil and bake lasagne in middle of oven 30 minutes. —–Remove foil and bake until golden and bubbling, about 10 more minutes. Let lasagne stand 10 minutes or so before serving.
–Garnish if you like with chopped herbs and nuts and serve with a chutney such as mango or mint.

Serves 6-8

Make ahead note:
–Filling and sauce can be made 1 day ahead and kept separately, covered and chilled. Bring to room temperature before assembling.
–The number of layers in your lasagna will depend again on your dish—You may not have 3 if the dish is not deep enough and will need to adjust amounts accordingly.

(Disclaimer: No claim is being made as to the originality of the recipes that appear here: however, they have been adapted, tested, revised and enjoyed over the years. When known, the original source is given.)

(Vegetarian Cooking Recipes Archive)