The Veggie Patch makes lasagne

July 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

I love pot-luck dinner parties – you reap all the benefits of yummy food and good company with none of the stress or expense of hosting the whole thing yourself. Sunday started vegetarian week for Blushing Strawberries and to get off to a good start I had intended to make the pumpkin, goats cheese and spinach lasagne from Valli Little’s cookbook ‘5 Of The Best’ (recipes from delicious. mag).

Now, obviously a whole lasagne is too much for one person, even when aided by the massive appetite of NB, and sharing a freezer with two flatmates and my last batch of soup has left no room for storage, which created the perfect environment for a dinner party! A few text messages later and the lasagne was suddenly joined by two BBQ chickens (the enticing smell of a roast chook was almost too much to bear…I may have stolen a wing! (Ah frailty thy name is woman!), a spinach, semi-dried tomato and bocconcini salad from Pasta Pantry, home made garlic bread, cheese and dips, some lovely wines and my gal pal CVV’s gorgeous homemade sticky date pudding (insert drool here).

The only thing we didn’t have was enough cutlery for ten!

Woops!

You might not have experienced the embarrassment  of calling a guest and asking them to bring knives and forks.

And their embarrassment when they forget and show up with a plastic set…hey, at least there’s some for next time now!

Bon appetite!

Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Lasagne

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Place 1 kg butternut pumpkin, (peeled & cut into 4 cm pieces) in a roasting pan and toss with 2tbs olive oil. Sprinkle leaves of 2 sprigs fresh rosemary over the top and season with S&P. Roast for 30 minutes or until tender. Transfer to a bowl, mash and set aside.

Heat another 2tbs olive oil and 2tbs unsalted butter in a medium fry pan over a low heat, add 2 leeks* (thinly sliced) and cook, stirring, for about 5-6 minutes or until softened. Add 300g baby spinach leaves (washed and dried) and 2 cloves crushed garlic, and cook for a further 1-2 minutes or until spinach has wilted. Set aside to cool.

Grease a 23cm x 15cm ovenproof dish. Have 400ml good-quality tomato passata and 3 (23cm x 15cm) sheets fresh lasagne** out and ready to go. Spoon 4 tbs of the passata onto the base of the dish and season with s&p. Place a sheet of lasagne on top and spread with mashed pumpkin. Add another layer of lasagne, pressing down on top, then 4 more tbs passata, then a layer of leek and spinach. Finally, add another layer of lasagne and spread it with the remaining passata.

Mix together 150g soft goats cheese (crumbled), 1/2 cup grated parmesan, and the leaves of another rosemary sprig. Sprinkle this on top. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes, or until the top is golden. Remove from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes before cutting.

*Leeks are so expensive at the moment, I replaced them with shallots.

** My pasta sheets weren’t that large so I used narrower ones crossways. If you use dried lasagne sheets this will require about another 15 minutes cooking time.

I assembled the lasagne a few hours ahead of time so I could shower, wash hair, set tables (minus cutlery) and all that jazz…it’s just so easy. I also made a quick garlic bread: Mix 1/2 cup softened butter with 3 cloves crushed garlic. Slice 2 long french sticks into 2-3 inch slices, not cutting all the way through to the bottom so they hold themselves together. Spread butter mixture in between each slice, wrap in foil and pop it in the oven for the last 20 minutes of the lasagne cooking time.

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