This lasagne doesn’t pretend to follow any British or Italian traditions, but it does promise rich bold flavours that can be thrown together in relatively quick time. The Rose Harissa pesto provides all the depth of a slow simmered tomato sauce, whilst the Genovese Basil Pesto adds a bright and aromatic fragrance and combination of both gives this lasagne its own distinct character.
1 x 400g tin green lentils
¾ Jar Rose Harissa Pesto
800 ml milk (semi skimmed or full cream)
80g plain flour
80g unsalted butter
400g fresh spinach, washed and dried
2 tbsp Early Harvest Olive Oil
½ jar Genovese Basil Pesto
150g dried lasagne sheets
100g Parmesan, grated
Salt and pepper
Heat an oven to 180C. Pierce the aubergines a few times with a knife, place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until they are completely soft. Remove from the oven and place in a colander and allow to cool and drain for 5 – 10 minutes. Cut open, scoop out the flesh with a spoon and place in a bowl. Drain the tinned lentils, add to the aubergine along with the Rose Harissa Pesto, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Set aside.
Whilst the aubergines are cooking, make the bechamel. Place the milk in a small pan and bring to the boil. Place another pan on a medium heat and add the butter. When melted, add the flour and whisk to form a roux. Add around a third of the milk and whisk quickly to stop any lumps forming. Gradually add the rest of the milk, continuing to whisk, till it is all incorporated. Increase the heat a little so the bechamel gently bubbles and whisk for around 10 minutes, till its smooth and glossy. Take off the heat, cover with a lid or plate and set aside.
Place a large pan on pot on a medium to high heat and when hot, add the olive oil followed by the spinach. Season with salt and pepper and stir occasionally till the spinach has wilted. Remove from the pot and place in a colander to allow it to drain and cool. Squeeze any excess liquid from it then mix with the ricotta and Genovese Basil Pesto in a bowl.
When ready to assemble the lasagne, place a medium pan of salted water, with a few drops of olive oil added, on a high heat, cover and bring to the boil. Using a deep, wide dish (between around 22 x 22cm), first spread a little of the lentil mixture, then some of the bechamel and lastly some of the spinach mix. Whilst you are layering this, place 3 -4 sheets of pasta in the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Removed from the water with tongs and place in the dish. Add another 3 – 4 layers of pasta to the boiling water and repeat the layering process. Depending on the size of the dish, you should have 3 -4 layers in total. Keep some of the bechamel to spread over the top of the last layer of pasta and top with the grated Parmesan. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes so that the top is browned and the edges are starting to bubble. Check that its done by inserting a sharp knife – there shouldn’t be any resistance. Allow to cool for around 20 minutes before serving.