writes Anna Thomas of The Epicurean.
I don’t enjoy tomatoes as much as D does. Sometimes I find them too sweet, sometimes acidic. So as you may have noticed over the past few weeks I have been trying to find ways of using them. Ideally I would have made dozens of bottles of homemade tomato sauce, but you see I am running out of space to store these and even jars, even the freezer is jam packed.
As you may remember, early this week D made some more tomato soup. I asked him to keep it simple and vegan, so we could add other flavourings to it, such as mint, parsley and coriander. So it did not feel like we were eating the same lunch - day in, day out.
When we came back from Fife yesterday we had this Tomato lasagne which I had made on Friday. We had the lasagne accompanied with some steamed green beans, and guess what we are having today, yes the same dish, well you didn't think I was going to cook after putting in a whole day at the allotment.
Fresh Tomato lasagne
Serves 4 - 6
For the Tomato Sauce
125ml olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
800g – 1 kilo of fresh tomatoes, can be mixed
About a dozen basil leaves, shredded
For the Bechamel sauce
80g plain flour
1 litre milk
Freshly grated nutmeg
About 300 – 350g fresh lasagne sheets
100g grated vegetarian parmesan cheese
For the tomato sauce: heat the oil and garlic in a large pan. When garlic becomes translucent, add the tomatoes and a good pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and cook uncovered for about 25 minutes or until it becomes a thick sauce. Stir in the basil and leave to cool.
To make the béchamel sauce: melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, then begin adding the milk. It will be absorbed immediately so work quickly whisking with one hand while pouring in the milk with the other. When the sauce seems to be smooth and not too stiff add seasoning and grating of nutmeg and continue cooking, mixing all the time. It should be a very thick and smooth sauce.
Assembling the lasagne
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease a 8 x 12 inch baking dish. Drizzle some bechamel sauce over the bottom of the dish to cover it thinly. Place two or three depending on the size of your lasagne sheets, so that they are slighly overlapping on top. Dollop a thin layer of tomato sauce over that, spreading it with the back of the ladle. Add about two ladlefuls of the bechamel. Add another layer of lasagne sheets, then tomato and bechamel as before, and then repeat the layers one more time. You should have about 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce and a good amount of bechamel left. Make a final layer of lasagne sheets and cover with all the remaining bechamel. Dollop the tomato sauce here and there (as I've done in the photo). Bake for about 30 minutes, or until it is bubbling and golden on top.