Winter veggies, layers of flavour in Katrina Meynink's Rainbow Vegetarian Lasagna
Updated: Jul 15, 2021
This weeks fresh harvest from Cultivate brings to you all the best of winter veggies and since I'm currently hooked on the influences of one of my new favourite cooks and food writer, Australian based foodie Katrina Meynink, I thought I'd share on of my favourite recipes in her new book Slow Victories. Katrina has some amazing recipes for the winter, perfect for the slow cooker or a weekend afternoon in the kitchen, featuring plenty of gorgeous vegetarian dishes. With the chilly days ahead in Christchurch, now is the perfect time to get your slow cooker out of the bottom drawer and start using the delicious organic winter veggies in your Cultivate box this week! This week we feature Katrina's delicious rainbow vegetarian lasagna for you to try using the fresh veggie veggie veggie (TBA) in this week's subscription box. If you're not already subscribed, join us now and get your fresh veggies delivered every week or fortnight. Each week, we will feature a new and delicious recipe for you to use with the week's fresh crop This is not about the vegetable layers as much as it is about a journey in pairing said vegetables with ALL the cheese. The cheese is equally important for retaining moisture in the layers as no sauce has been used, so don't be scant with it. In the interests of being upfront – this does take some time, but you can make the layers across a few days and keep them in the fridge, then all you need to do is assemble on the day of eating, rather than try to do it all in one hit.
Roasted pumpkin and feta layer 1kg Japanese pumpkin, deseeded, cut into equal sized wedges 1 tbsp olive oil 200g feta 1 tbsp dried or fresh thyme 2 egg yolks Beautiful beets layer 500g cooked beetroot* (about 5 small) 150g goat's cheese Green layer 2 tsp olive oil 2 cups spinach leaves, coarsely chopped 2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves 2 tbsp finely chopped basil leaves zest of 1 lemon 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 cup ricotta ½ cup pecorino, grated (or parmesan or other firm cheese) Creamy tomato layer 1 cup ricotta 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 cup semi-dried tomatoes (plus ½ cup to stir through) 1 x 140g tub tomato paste To assemble 6 fresh lasagne sheets 1 x ball buffalo mozzarella (about 150g) ½ cup grated cheddar cheese Method
For the roasted pumpkin layer Preheat oven to 175C fan-forced (195C conventional). Spread pumpkin pieces on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle over the oil and roast in the oven for 45 minutes or until golden on top and cooked through. Remove from the oven and carefully scoop the flesh from the skins into a blender. Add the feta and thyme and blitz until a uniform texture. Allow to cool before stirring through the egg yolks. Cover and set aside until ready to assemble. For the beets layer Add the beetroot and goat's cheese to a blender and pulse briefly to combine. You don't want to completely obliterate the beetroot but you need the mixture to be spreadable. A few chunks here and there are more than OK; in fact, I encourage it. Set aside. For the greens layer Place a frying pan over medium heat. Add the oil and, once shimmering, add the spinach, parsley and basil and cook for maximum one minute. You want the leaves to soften and just cook through. Remove from heat and stir through the lemon zest and garlic. Add to a bowl with the ricotta and pecorino and season generously with salt and pepper. Set aside. For the creamy tomato layer Add all ingredients (except the reserved semi-dried tomatoes) into a blender and blitz to combine. Season to taste then stir through the additional tomatoes. Cover and set aside. To assemble When ready to assemble, the four fillings should all be at room temperature so they are spreadable.
Preheat oven to 170C fan-forced (190C conventional) and par-boil the lasagne sheets (unless specified on the packet; some fresh lasagne sheets include a note to say no pre-boiling required).
Line a 25cm x 15cm x10cm baking dish with baking paper. Layer a fresh lasagne sheet across the base. Top with the creamy tomato mixture, spread in a single layer. Top with another lasagne sheet, then smear over the pumpkin layer.
Top this with a lasagne sheet then add the spinach mixture. Thinly slice the ball of mozzarella and arrange the slices on top of the green mixture, before covering with another lasagne sheet.
Top with the beetroot mixture then place the final lasagne sheet on top.
Scatter over the cheddar cheese then tightly cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes before removing the foil and cooking for another 10-15 minutes or until the top is nice and golden. Allow to cool slightly before cutting into this. No lasagne survives a hot cut – the innards go everywhere. If, like me, you don't care about this, go forth, cut and enjoy.
*If you want a shortcut, you can get away with buying pre-cooked beetroots at the supermarket rather than roasting beetroots for this. They are in the chilled aisle; just don't use tinned beets as they are so over-sweetened they will take over this dish.