Lasagna, in most of its incarnations, is one of my all time favorite foods. This particular one uses no tomato product, thus it’s white. White sauce pastas are commonly prepared with some variation of a Béchamel Sauce. A sauce made of butter, flour, and milk.
That’s where my lasagna gets exciting. My white sauce is actually a cauliflower puree. Take a bunch of cauliflower and cut off the florets. Sweat in a saucepot with safflower oil for three minutes. Do not allow the cauliflower to brown. Cover the cauliflower with half-and-half. Season with all-spice, ground cinnamon, and a vanilla bean. Split the bean in half with a knife, scrape out the seeds, add to the pot. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Simmer until the cauliflower is tender. Scoop out the cauliflower and add to a blender. Use enough of the cooking liquid so the machine will turn. The amount of cooking liquid used, determines the thickness of the puree. Sauce completed!
For the filling you will need equal parts diced red bell peppers, leeks, and shiitake mushrooms. Sauté the vegetables in a large pan until soft, but do not overdue it because they still will cook in the oven. Let the mixture cool.
Tarragon is another secret weapon this lasagna packs. You’ll need about 1 oz fresh tarragon finely chopped. I use three different cheeses for this dish…25 oz Ricotta, 8 ounces grated Asiago cheese, and 8 ounces grated Smoked Gouda.
Add the ricotta to the filling mixture, incorporate fully. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
To assemble on a lasagna pan…a thin layer of the cauliflower puree, the pasta, the filling, sprinkle some of the chopped tarragon, and some of the grated asiago. Repeat three more times. Top the lasagna with a layer of the cauliflower puree, and the grated smoked gouda. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 55 minutes.
A note on the pasta, I use Barilla, in my opinion they produce the best commercial pasta.
Uncover the pan, and bake for a further 5 minutes to brown the cheese on top. There you have it a wonderful vegetarian lasagna that will please even the toughest critics.
That’s it for now…Till we exchange a few more again…Peace!