Saturday, 28 July 2012
Vegetarian, Tomatoless and Gluten Free Lasagne
I had some friends round for dinner last week for a simple mid-week meal prior to heading out to the local pub quiz. A simple but delicious dinner was called for and I decided on making lasagne. I really love a good lasagne and as I am normally just cooking food for myself I don’t often get around to making this Italian classic so this dinner provided the perfect opportunity. As my housemate is allergic to tomatoes I had already thought about how best to make a tomatoless version but then I found out that one of my other dinner guests is wheat intolerant. After really setting my heart on making a good lasagne (developing an ever increasing craving for the dish) I wasn’t about to let a little bit of gluten get in my way. And so I set out to make a tomatoless and gluten free lasagne which also turned into a vegetarian dish to assist with making a dent into a bit of a veggie mountain that had been growing in my fridge. And I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised with the results and I think my guests shared my enjoyment as four very empty plates were left at the end of the evening!
FOR THE PASTA
180g rice flour
85g tapioca flour
55g powdered yam
40g gluten free flour mix
3 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons water
Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the eggs and olive oil. Using a fork slowly bring the flour mix into the centre of the bowl to combine the wet and dry ingredients together.
Start using your hands to bring the mixture together and add a little water if required to produce a smooth dough.
Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for a couple of hours.
FOR THE TOMATOLESS SAUCE
1 red onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
2 red peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
3 carrots, peeled and diced
50ml red wine
300ml vegetable stock
Place a large saucepan over a medium heat, add a splash of olive and the onions and cook until they begin to soften. Then add the garlic and bay leaves and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the pepper and carrots.
Continue to cook for another 5 minutes before adding the wine and stock.
Bring the mixture to the boil before reducing to a gentle simmer and leave for 25-30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Fish out the bay leaves, add the mixture a food processor and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
FOR THE CHEESY SAUCE
20g corn flour
550ml milk (warmed)
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
100g grated parmesan cheese
Melt the butter in a saucepan placed over a medium heat.
Reduce the heat, add the corn flour and stir vigorously until a smooth paste is formed.
Add half of the milk and again stir vigorously (a whisk may work better than a spoon) until a smooth paste is formed.
Add the remaining milk, increase the heat and continue to stir until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken forming a smooth sauce.
Remove from the heat and season with the nutmeg (as well as salt and pepper to taste). Add the cheese and stir until it has melted.
1 aubergine, chopped into large chunks
1 courgette, chopped into large chunks
1 red onion, chopped into large chunks
2 peppers, deseeded and chopped into large chunks
1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
Now pre-heat the oven to 220 deg C / 425 deg F
Place a large saucepan over a medium heat, add a good glug of olive oil and the onion. Cook until softened then turn up the heat a bit and add the rest of the veg (you can use any selection of veg you like, I just used up what was kicking around in my fridge) and continue to cook until all the veg becomes tender.
Once the vegetables are cooked add the tomatoless sauce to the pan and heat through. If the sauce seems a bit think add a little water to thin it down to ensure all of the vegetables are coated in the sauce.
Remove the pasta from the fridge. Liberally flour the work surface and a rolling pin with gluten free flour. Cut small chunks from the pasta dough and carefully roll out into thin squares. This will require a bit of patience and quite a lot of extra flour to stop things sticking but after attempting to put the mixture through my pasta roller I realised that the lack of stretchy gluten in the dough makes this impossible. It is however possible to roll the dough out pretty thinly with a rolling pin, honest! So keep rolling out the pasta using small portions each time.
Now take a square or rectangular oven proof dish. Spread 1/3 of the tomatoless mixture in the bottom of the dish and then cover with pasta sheets, creating a patchwork until all of the tomatoless mix is covered. Next take 1/3 of the cheesy sauce and spread over the pasta until the past is covered by the sauce. Repeat this process twice more until three layers of tomatoless sauce, pasta and cheesy sauce are piled on top of each other in the dish. (You may have some pasta dough left over, but don't worry you don't need to use it all and any leftover dough can be frozen for later use).
Finally break the mozzarella into small chunks and scatter across the top of the lasagne. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the mozzarella has melted and turned golden brown and the lasagne is volcanically hot and bubbling.
Remove from the oven, cut into 4 large sliced and tuck in and enjoy!
(Apologies for the slightly lengthy recipe but if you have the perseverance to get through this one I think you will agree with my dinner guests that it tastes pretty good)!