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Monday, 26 November 2012

Vegetable Lasagna Layered with Spinach and White Sauce - Step by Step Recipe



The first time I had Lasagna, was in this simple restaurant that serves absolutely delicious food called “Polka Dots’ In Aundh, Pune.
It’s located on the main road, in a crowded locality, has a very humble ambiance and you would probably miss it, if not for their food.
There is hardly any item I have not tried from their menu, there is enough variety for vegetarian and non vegetarians. There dessert selection is divine and their ‘specials’ are worth a shot.

Now, when I think back I realize that some very special meals n meetings have happened there. The first time I got a job way back in 2003 I treated all my friends to a hearty dinner. Archana, my friend who is now in the US gave her engagement party at Polka Dots. Once I met my better half, our first restaurant meal with our common friends was again…at Polka Dots.
And that’s not all many many gossip sessions, catching up with old friends, discussions about work, boyfriends – no boyfriends have happened over pasta and pastries in that small dim lit place.

Even now, when ever I get a chance to go to Pune, I do make a trip there, I don’t need an elaborate meal, just a simple basil tomato soup and garlic bread with my near n dear ones is enough to re live those happy days and make my trip complete.

With so many special memories, I knew this was the dish I had to make for our third anniversary last Saturday.... we relived that evening when 5 friends laughed, joked, ate, drank and my husband had his first Lasagna.

Serves: 4 persons
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: Bake for 15 minutes @ 180 degree celsius. Bake and Grill (simultaneously) for 3-5 minutes.
Note: I have an LG Microwave Convection Oven.

 For the Vegetable Stuffing:
Ingredients
Quantity
Diced Eggplant*
1 medium
Diced Red Bell pepper
1 large
Diced Green Bell Pepper
2 large
Chopped Baby Corn
1 packet (10 pieces)
Paprika / Chili flakes
1 ½ tsp
Dry Oregano
1 ½ tsp
Diced Carrots
4 medium
Minced Garlic
4 tsp
Butter
2 tbsp
Olive Oil
3 tbsp
 * Use the large variety of eggplant usually used for ‘baingan ka bharta’ in Indian Cuisines

Method:
  • Dice all the vegetable, set aside.
Diced Vegetables
  • Start with the eggplant; I like crispy pieces of eggplant in my lasagna so I fried them first and then the rest of the vegetables.
Diced Eggplant
  • Take a non stick or a heavy bottom pan; add 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil to it, once hot add 1 tsp of minced garlic.
  • Sauté for a minute, and then add the eggplant and sauté till it turns brown and crispy.
  • Season it with salt and ½ tsp paprika / chili flakes set aside.
Crispy Fried Eggplant
  • Now in the same pan, add 1 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of olive oil, once hot add the remaining garlic.
Add olive oil + butter and saute

Add chopped veggies to the pan
  • Sauté again for a minute, add all the veggies, cook them till they are slightly cooked, takes approximately 7-10 minutes.
Saute till the veggies have just started to cook
  • Season the veggies with salt, pepper and oregano, set aside.
Mix them

Next make the sauces:

  For the Spinach Sauce
Ingredients
Quantity
Spinach Leaves
10 leaves
APF ( Maida)
2 tbsp
Milk
2 ½ cups (1 cup = 200 ml)
Butter
1 tbsp
Minced garlic
1 tsp
Olive Oil
2 tbsp
Nutmeg
A pinch
Salt
As per taste

Method:
  • To blanch the spinach leaves, take a heavy bottom pan, add 7-8 cups of water, a pinch of salt and bring to boil, add the spinach leaves.
  • Blanch the leaves for 3-4 minutes, remove from the boiling water and wash them under fresh running water.
  • Squeeze the excess water and grind spinach leaves in a mixer.
Minced spinach leaves
  • In another pan, add 1 tbsp of butter, 1 tbsp of olive oil and minced garlic.
  • Add APF (maida) whisk this till the APF cooks and the raw smell disappears.
Use a whisk to avoid lumps
  • Reduce the flame to minimum and add milk, increase the flame to medium and let the sauce cook whilst continuously whisking this mixture.
  • Whisking will help to cook the mixture evenly without forming any lumps.
  • Now add the spinach and stir till the sauce thickens.
Keep whisking till the sauce starts to thicken 
  • Season the sauce with salt and a pinch of nutmeg.
  For the White Sauce
Ingredients
Quantity
APF ( Maida)
2 tbsp
Milk
2 ½ cups (1 cup = 200 ml)
Butter
1 tbsp
Olive Oil
1 tbsp
Garlic
1 tsp
Dry Basil
1 tsp
Salt
As per taste

Method:
  • In another pan, add 1 tbsp of butter, 1 tbsp of olive oil and minced garlic.
  • Add APF (maida) whisk this till the APF cooks and the raw smell disappears.
Similar to spinach sauce
  • Reduce the flame to minimum or remove from heat and then add milk.  Increase the flame to medium to cook the sauce whilst continuously whisking.
Stir till the sauce starts to thicken
  • The sauce starts to thicken, season with salt, pepper and basil.

For the Lasagna Sheets
Follow the instructions on the box; cook the sheets just like you cook pasta – Al Dente.
Once the sheets are cooked and drained, smear a little oil on the sheets, so that they don't stick to each other.
Lasagna sheets in boiling water

Cooked n drained sheets

Layering the Lasagna:
Use a Bake Safe / Oven Safe dish for the lasagna, I used a square dish, if you have a round dish cut the sheets to fit in the dish and layer it accordingly.
Grated Cheese – Use as much as you like, I used Amul processed cheese, you can also use combination of Mozzarella + Processed and Cheddar Cheese to add more flavour.
I needed 6 Lasagna sheets to make this dish, with garlic bread n salsa it was a hearty meal for 4 people.

Layer 1:
Spread white sauce on the bottom of the dish
First layer is of white sauce
Place the lasagna sheets, I needed 2 sheets
Then put a layer of vegetables and top it with spinach sauce.
A generous layer of veggies



Veggies, Spinach sauce and cheese
Last but not the least a sprinkle of cheese. I just sprinkled cheese but you can put as much as you want.

Layer 2:
On the cheese, place next 2 sheets of lasagna
2 sheets on top of layer 1
Spread spinach sauce on it, then vegetables, white sauce and cheese.
Layer 2 ...done

Layer 3:
Make the third layer same as layer 1 or 2
After the layering of lasagna sheets and vegetables is done, sprinkle a generous layer of cheese on this last layer and bake it for 15 minutes at 180 degree celsius.
And for 3 – 5 minutes on bake + grill mode in Microwave Convection Oven to get a nice brown grilled cheese on top of the Lasagna.
Note – The cheese tends to burn very quickly so check after a minute or two to avoid burning the cheese!
The last layer

I served this with garlic bread, tomato soup and olive n tomato salsa, it was one scrumptious meal.



My meal is ready!











44 comments:

  1. Looks like a delicious labour of love... happy anniversary to both of you! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. mamma mia

    i went through each and every word of ur recipe here

    the first time i had lasagna was at one wedding yrs bck and i developed taste for it

    i craved so much for it that i found some coffee shops and bakeries have ready lasagna like this

    i loved it even when it was cold
    looks like elaborate method but worth every bite in the end

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a bit elaborate, you could always prepare the veggies before and keep them. Make the sauce just before layering :) and thank you for reading the post, it makes all the writing worth it :)

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  3. Love this. What a dish! Wanna eat! A beautiful post, Gauri.

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  4. never had lasagna before.. guess i must try this :)

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    Replies
    1. Do that.. am sure u live want to try again n again!

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  5. The Lasagna looks very nice, full of veggies and less of cheese, that is what we get here, only tomato sauce and loads of cheese. Will try your desi version with veggies and spinach white sauce. I do make Baked veggies, but this looks more yummy.
    Love Ash.

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    Replies
    1. Ho, even I like this less calorie and more healthy version... too much cheese only makes it cheesy and all the flavours are lost. cheese (in my opinion only cheese lovers will disagree)

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  6. wow Gauri you rock with this recipe, who would think of a healthy vegan version looks so inviting

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Priya....want to get the best out of both the worlds, healthy and tasty!

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  7. lovely Gauri.. bookmarking this... very tempting snaps
    Noel collections

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  8. Wow, that looks so yummy. My mouth is watering. I have cooked with penne and fusilli, now I must try lasagna. Thanks for the recipe.
    Love.

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    Replies
    1. The lasagna sheets give a nice layer to the whole dish and you can make out the difference in the taste of the sauces as well!

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  9. looks great.. drooling here :)

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  10. Gauri am drooling here, Lasagna is one of my favorite pasta dishes, you have made it so yum wish I could have some... too good to resist

    Blog - http://shwetainthekitchen.blogspot.com/
    Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/ShwetaintheKitchen

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  11. wow! thats a lot of veggies goin on in there! love the colours and the last pic looks amazing!

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  12. lovely colourful lasagna looks wonderful

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  13. Delicious meal Love lasgana, that too with healthy filling. yumm.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Torviewtoronto and Swathi!

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  14. My daughter will go crazy if she saw this lasagna,her's all time favourite, beautifully done Gauri.

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  15. Oh I am totally loving it. Looks creamy n cheesy

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  16. I have never tried vegetarian lasagna before especially adding eggplant and spinach...looks so yummy!

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  17. Wow its a killer recipe. fantabulous n yummy!

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  18. This is so inviting Gauri! love all your recipes. lasagna looks great and delicious.

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  19. Lasagna looks amazing.U have a wonderful space.Happy to follow u.

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  20. Seems to be very long process but i guess it worth trying looks so tastyyyyy

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  21. What a lovely association with a restaurant, we have a similar one in London, which my husband calls his lucky place. The lasagna looks yum....I have been planning to make it for a long time, your step by step recipe would be a great help! Cheers, Suchi

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  22. Very interesting! Thanks for sharing!

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  23. Gauri, this is superb ! And vegetarian too. Love it!

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  24. my fav is the eggplant lasagna ....this one looks great with spinach

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  25. Bookmarking this. Looks delicious.

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  26. Hey Radha!
    Thanks for trying out your version of the lasagna.. that look great :)

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  27. Hi Gauri,

    It looks yummy... I am gonna try it over this weekend..

    Thanks for sharing your recipe..


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  28. Made this sauce with spaghetti. Kiddo loved it. Will surely try the lasagne as well :)

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