I've had plenty of vegetable lasagnas in the past. Creamy white sauce, loaded with the usual vegetables found in most supermarkets such as carrots, peas and onions. All were delicious but similar in that their ingredients were safe. The cheese sauce was safe and the vegetables were the kind you may find year round. Like I have stressed before, the kind of vegetables I enjoy using are the kind nature intended us to use, which is why they grow around the same time as one another, they are meant to be enjoyed together.
I have been dreaming of creating my own autumn lasagna recipe, loaded with seasonal vegetables, most definitely cheesy (the way it should be) and most importantly an added signature touch. I looked in my refrigerator. I discovered a bowl of diced butternut and acorn squash, a container of brussels sprouts and fresh shallots. I knew exactly how to incorporate each ingredient in my recipe, but the brussels sprouts threw me off. I thought about each way I have eaten this under appreciated vegetable. I had reluctantly first tried it sauteed, then after turning to the brussels side enjoyed a roasted batch as well. After realizing I had never tried it fried I was intrigued to try out my newly awaiting challenge.
I marinated the cleaned and quartered sprouts with red wine vinegar and honey as well as some chopped cashews. After each batch was fried I could not resist the urge to nibble on each leaf as if I were enjoying a bag of movie theater popcorn. When all the brussels sprouts were fried, dried and ready to go, I gave them a rough chop and added them to the fabulous lasagna layers of the autumn vegetable medley.
Believe me this lasagna is chock full of fabulous ingredients that were grown to be devoured together. You can taste the different layers of flavors, tons of cheese and especially the intoxicating after taste of the fried brussels sprouts with a bit of a crunch from the roasted cashews. The lasagna tasted marvelous, exactly what I've always wanted in an adventurous vegetable lasagna. I have to say I am proud of this recipe, Tim even said it is the kind of pasta dish he would order at a restaurant and go back for (which is extremely exciting coming from someone who has been cooking professionally for over 14 years). This is a 2-3 person serving I made in a loaf pan, but it is very filling and could be enjoyed among more friends (if you're willing to share) =]
P.S. I re-used the oil infused with brussels sprouts for searing lamb, drizzling on a bowl of fruits with honey and more. The aroma is magnificent and I'm sure you guys will find even more interesting uses for the left over infused oil.
Root Vegetable Lasagna w/ Fried Brussels Sprouts
- 1/2 celery small diced
- 1/2 shallot thin sliced
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1 1/3 cup of small diced acorn squash and butternut squash
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme de-stemmed
- 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary
- fresh sage for garnish
- Box of no cook lasagna
- Grated parmesan and Asiago Cheese
- Grated white and/or sharp cheddar cheeses
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium sized pan add butter and sautee shallots with celery on medium for about a minute, then add diced squashes.
- Sautee until soft, then add fresh rosemary and thyme, set aside.
- Marinate and fry brussels sprouts, let cool and rough chop, make cheese sauce (see below for recipes)
- Layer no cook lasagna in a loaf pan, spread cheese sauce, sauteed veggies, fried brussels sprouts and sprinkle a generous layer of the Asiago and parmesan.
- Add more pasta and layers until you run our of sauteed veggies, add final layer of cheese and sprinkle with the left over fried brussels sprouts and fresh sage. Bake in oven for 35 minutes or until pasta is soft and cheeses have completely melted.
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1/4 cup of small diced onions
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 1 cup of warm milk
- 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 1 cup of grated Gruyere
- 1 cup of grated Fontina
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- In a medium sauce pan sautee onions in butter until translucent. Then add flour and continue to cook for about a minute.
- Slowly add in warm milk while whisking until fully incorporated. Add nutmeg and cheeses while continuing to whisk.
- Taste and adjust seasoning, you might have to add a bit more milk to make it smoother (but not too much since you want the sauce to spread on the pasta almost like a paste.)
- Cool and set aside.
Fried Brussels Sprouts
- 1 container of brussels sprouts
- 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of salted roasted cashews chopped
- Canola oil for frying in a small pot
- Peel off the outside layer of sprouts and quarter, placing in a bowl.
- Marinate in the rest of ingredients while oil heats on medium high.
- Have a small frying basket to catch the small floating leaves and do not over crowd the pot. Take a step back when adding the sprouts since the oil will jump back at you.
- Once the leaves begin to coil and turn a golden brown remove immediately and place on a plate with paper towels to soak up excess oil. Let cool and chop up to add to the lasagna layers.
* You may season the sprouts with salt and pepper, place in a bowl and enjoy in place of popcorn for a good movie (like I did) =]