Lasagna Primavera


 


Lasagna Primavera is one of my wife’s preferred recipe. In this lasagna the Bolognese sauce is replaced by a sauce made with vegetables, making it a delightful vegetarian dish.
My mother in law, Mrs. Danila Occhiali made this dish using a few vegetables, a light béchamel sauce and egg pasta lasagna that she made so light it literally melted in your mouth.
Terry, my wife is a very gifted and talented cook and she makes an exceptional Lasagna Primavera using vegetables available in season and freshly made noodles.
When Terry cooks she does not measure and rarely weighs anything but the end product is always an outstanding and fine gourmet dish, compatible to the best I ever tasted.

When I cooked at Joe’s of Avenue U, every Thursday we usually prepared meatless dishes like stuffed artichokes, mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplants and pasta with assorted vegetables or the meatless lasagna, nice to look at and delicious tasting, stuffed with plentiful and various seasonal produces. The meatless lasagna was a winning dish!

The “Lasagna Primavera” that without fail, Terry prepares at home when we have vegetarian guests for dinner, it is delicious and although requires extra time it is easy to make.
The recipe that will follow it is always appreciated and enjoyed by our company.
Serve it hot, lay a small ladle of tomato sauce on top of each portion, with grated Parmesan cheese on the side and watch the lasagna disappear from the plates.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • ½ lb. eggs lasagna
  • 5 leeks thinly sliced
  • 2 lb. zucchini, select small zucchini, Wash, scrape lightly and cut into ¼ of inch slices
  • 1 lb. peas
  • 12 oz. carrots, peeled and cut like shoestring potatoes (matchstick-wide), or thinly sliced
  • 2 lb. spinach, rinsed, blanched, drained well and finely chopped
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • ½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 oz. butter (1 ½ sticks) for béchamel
  • 6 tablespoons of flour
  • 6 cups of milk
  • 1 can 28 oz. peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • ½ stick of butter (2 oz.) for sauce
  • salt and pepper

 

Preparation

  • The Tomato Sauce

In a 2 quarts saucepan over medium heat combine the oil with one sliced leek and sauté until translucent. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring it to a boil, lower flame and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add 2 ounces of butter (½ stick) and continue to simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Taste for salt, remove and set on side.

  • The Vegetables

Using a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and sauté 1 leek until translucent. Over a medium heat, add the sliced zucchini, salt and pepper to taste and cook until tender but al dente. If it looks dry, add some olive oil. When ready set aside in a dish.
Follow the same process for the carrots, the peas, the spinach and any other vegetables you would like to add.

  • The Béchamel

In a 4 quarts saucepan, at low heat melt 6 ounces of  butter (1 ½ sticks) and add in the 6 tablespoons of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, stirring with a wooden spoon until well homogenized. At the same time heat the milk in a separate pot.
Increase heat a little bit and cook the flour and butter for 3 to 4 minutes stirring constantly without letting the mixture stick to the bottom or brown. Start to add the milk a little at a time, stirring with a wire whisk to avoid lumping.
Continue cooking over a low heat until it thickens and there is no taste of raw flour.   

  • The Pasta

In a large pot, bring to a boil 6 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of salt; submerge the lasagna a few pieces at a time in the boiling water and cook al dente, about 2 minute, then drop in a basin with cold water. 
When the lasagna is cooked, drain pasta and place on clean kitchen towels.

  • The Assembly

Set up all ingredients in front of you. If béchamel is too thick add some milk to make it lighter.
Grease a rectangular baking pan 13 X 8 X 2, place at the bottom a full tablespoon of each vegetable and a ladle of béchamel then put a layer of pasta to cover the bottom of pan and spread on top some of each of the vegetables, following with béchamel and a sprinkle of the Parmesan cheese. Continue until you have finished all the ingredients, ending with a layer of béchamel and vegetables.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees; bake the lasagna for 30 minutes.

  • The Serving
Remove the lasagna from the oven and set aside to settle, making it easy to cut and dish out. Serve each individual portion, partially covered with tomato sauce and sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese.