16 November 2015

Veg Lasagna

    I am a big fan of Italian cuisine (after Indian cuisine, of course!!), and not just the ubiquitous Pizza. And while I keep attempting the pasta, pizza and even the gnocchi at home, lasagna was one thing I was putting off, more for fear of getting the homemade lasagna sheets wrong!! But fears are meant to be conquered, so I set out to try it and get it as right as I could!! Plus, the 14th Foodie Monday Bloghop theme was baking...I got the recipe for homemade eggless lasagna sheets from this blog



VEG LASAGNA



Ingredients :

Vegetable filling :
Boiled & diced potatoes (not too squishy) - 1 cup
Diced red pumpkin (Kaddu) - 1 cup
Diced capsicum - 1 cup
Blanched Cauliflower florets (** - see notes) - 1 cup
Soaked & drained soya nuggets - 1/2 cup
Boiled & diced carrots - 1 cup
Salt to taste
Red Chili powder - 1 1/2 tsps
Garlic powder - 1 1/2 tsps
Dried Oregano or mixed Italian herbs - 1 tsp

For Lasagna sheets - Makes about 10 sheets (original credit to this recipe ) :
Refined flour - 1 cup
Wheat flour - 1/2 cup 
Water - between 1/2 and 3/4th cup

Other ingredients (I used a white sauce topping, but you can use any) :
Cheese - 5 cheese slices or 1 cup grated processed cheese
Milk - 2 cups
Refined or wheat flour - 2 tbsps (dissolved in milk)
Black pepper powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Dried Oregano or mixed Italian herbs - 2 tsps
Garlic powder - 1 tsp

Olive oil - 2 tbsps

Method

1. Heat olive oil in a wok and add the red pumpkin. Sprinkle little salt and cover cook till 3/4th done. Now add the cauliflower florets

2. Once the cauliflower is half-done as well, tip in the capsicum and let cook. Again when this is half done, add the remaining vegetables one by one. Add some more salt to taste along with chili powder, garlic powder and mix well. After about 5-7 minutes add the dried Italian herbs, let cook for couple minutes more and remove.

3. While the veggies are cooking, let's prepare the dough for the lasagna. In a clean bowl, add the refined flour and wheat flour. mix using a fork. Now add water little by little and keep mixing with the fork. 

4. Once the flour is assembled, knead with hands to get a firm but soft dough. Take care not to make it stretchy or add more water than needed. A little dry texture is fine here, but not crumbly. Let rest for 10 minutes.

5. For the white sauce, pour the milk and flour mix into a saucepan and keep stirring to avoid lump formation. Add in the cheese and stir again till cheese mixes well. Add the salt, black pepper powder, garlic powder and dried herbs. Stir for just a minute more and remove. It's ok if the sauce is a bit runny as it will typically thicken once cooled.

6. Dust a counter with some flour. Divide the dough into 2 portions. Roll out into a rough square and cut into 2. Keep one portion aside and continue to roll out the other half into as thin a sheet as possible and manageable. 

7. Keep dusting flour while rolling out. When you have a fairly large rectangle or square, cut into lasagna sheets or strips as desired and depending on the size of your baking dish. I used these rectangular ceramic dishes. 


8. Dust the sheets liberally with dry flour and place them on a flat tray or plate. Boil enough water in a large saucepan and salt. Gently drop in the pasta sheets one by one and take them out after a count of 10 seconds. Use a wide rimmed ladle to scoop them out lest they tear. Place them to drain on a plate.

9. Now comes the assembling. Coat the baking dishes with oil. Place 1 lasagna sheet. Add a layer of the veg filling and top off with another pasta sheet. Repeat as desired. It is also optional to add grated cheese in between layers if you like it rich. (I do!!)

10. Finally generously pour the white sauce over the assembled lasagna so that it coats all layers and then some. Using a microwave, I baked this at 200 deg C for 8-9 minutes and then at 170 deg C for 4 minutes more or till golden bubbles formed at the top. Remove from the oven, let cool for a bit. Cut and serve. 


(** - Advisable to blanch cauliflower and broccoli florets in boiling water with a 1/2 tsp turmeric powder added to it, then drain, wash and use for your dishes. This is not ideal but at least de-contaminates the florets of possible worms)



  

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