My current best friend is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Veg Everyday! And, while I find some of his recipes a bit too heavy or a bit time consuming there are some real gems in this book. This is particularly relevant if you are usually a meat-eater and find veggie food a little...well...boring. So we made Mushroom and Kale lasagne, which was super yummy. The white sauce was infused with celery and onions and lots of spices, which made such a beautiful difference to the usual cheesy sauce. I bought kale in a bag and I recommend you do not do the same. The kale is all chopped up into small bits and I ended up spending about half an hour picking out the hard stems. I'd recommend you get a nice cavolo nero and do all the cutting and trimming yourself. Cavolo nero is a more flavoursome, more tender version and would definitely work better in this dish. Also make sure you get chestnut mushrooms or a mix of various mushrooms (i.e. oyster, cep, chanterelle) to add different textures and more flavour. Some supermarkets do mixed punnets, which are great.
I am definitely loving the veggie lasagnes. A few months ago I made a butternut squash and sage lasagne which was absolutely delicious and I will be sharing soon.
Make extra and have for lunch the next day. An incredibly delicious winter dinner dish.
- 300g cavolo nero or kale, stalks removed
- 30g butter (you can use olive oil if you want to go for a healthier option)
- 500g mushrooms, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- a few sprigs of thyme, leaves only, chopped
- 175g green lasagne sheets (you can use normal ones too)
- 20g Parmesan, grated
- olive oil
- 750ml full-fat (or semi skimmed) milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
- a few black peppercorns
- 50g unsalted butter
- 50g plain flour
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- Heat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Heat the milk with the bay leaf, onion, celery and peppercorns until almost simmering. Take off the heat and leave aside to infuse.
- Roughly shred the kale. Put into a large saucepan and just cover with cold water. Add salt. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes, or until just tender. Drain well and set aside.
- Heat half the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add half the mushrooms and season. Increase the heat and fry, stirring, until the liquid released has evaporated and the mushrooms are starting to brown and caramelise. Stir in half the garlic and half the thyme, cook for another minute, then remove to a bowl. Repeat with the rest of the mushrooms, garlic and thyme and set aside.
- Gently reheat the milk, then strain. Heat the butter for the béchamel in a large saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook gently for a couple of minutes, until it turns into a thick paste and starts to bubble. Take off the heat. Add about a quarter of the hot milk and beat vigorously until smooth. Add the rest of the milk in about 3 batches, until you have a smooth sauce. Put the pan back on the heat and cook for a few minutes, stirring and allowing the sauce to bubble gently, until thickened. Stir in the mustard, then season well.
- Stir roughly half of the béchamel sauce into the kale.
- Spread half the remaining sauce over the bottom of an ovenproof dish (approx. 28 x 22cm). Layer a third of the lasagne sheets in the dish, then spoon the kale over the top. Add another layer of lasagne, then add the mushrooms,. Finish with a final layer of pasta and the rest of the sauce.
- Scatter the cheese over the top and add a trickle of olive oil. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden. Serve with a green salad and a glass of light red wine.