Occasionally I am overcome with a desire to lead a more productive existence. These rare flashes generally occur on a Sunday after a period of dedicated procrastination. I've found that a sure-fire way to fulfil this impulse is to cook. It really is a good outcome. I get dinner, win brownie points with the flatmates and enjoy a warm feeling of self satisfaction.
My most recent product was a gigantic roasted vegetarian lasagne. In this particular quest for self fulfilment, I went one step further by including a bike ride to the South Melbourne Market for my ingredients.
As I am new to Melbourne and have trouble telling my left from right, the bike ride itself would have been enough to keep the procrastination in check. As such, I am in productivity credit. A-woohoo!
Roasted vegetables: 3 capsicums 2 large courgettes 3 potatoes Half a pumpkin A lemon
Bulb of garlic
Tomato sauce: 1 large onion 700 gram bottle of Passata
1 can of tomatoes
1 tablespoon sugar
Dried lasagne sheets
Salt and pepper
Heat the oven to 200 degrees. Peel and slice potatoes, and put in a large roasting dish (do the same with the pumpkin, but add a little later). Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add a few shaves of lemon rind and the garlic. Roast for an hour or until softened.
Halve and core the capsicums. Grill on high for 10 minutes on each side (or until a bit black). Leave to steam and cool in a plastic bag.
Slice the courgettes, rub with olive oil, salt and pepper and grill until they have softened.
While all of this is going on, thinly slice the onions and fry in some olive oil with a few bay leaves until they are clear and soft. Add the pasatta and half a cup of red wine. Sprinkle in some oregano. Bring to the boil and simmer until is has reduced and sweetened. I cheat and add a tablespoon of sugar. When the garlic is soft – chop half and add to the sauce.
As the tomato is reducing, you can prepare the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and stir over a medium heat for 1 minute. Remove from the heat; gradually whisk in the milk. Stir over a medium heat until sauce boils and thickens. Stir in the cheese and season to taste.
Now it is time to assemble. Start with a layer of cheese sauce, followed by the a layer of vegetables. I like to try make a pattern – potato, pumpkin, capsicum, courgette, but this is purely to serve my obsessive compulsive tendencies.
Sprinkle the remaining roasted garlic over the veggies. Cover this with a layer of pasta followed by tomato sauce. Repeat until you run out of ingredients. Due to obsessiveness tendencies, I circle back and finish with cheese sauce.
Cook for one hour at 180 degrees, adding extra cheese with 20 minutes to go.