Do like Garfield and cook up some delicious vegetarian lasagna to celebrate Lasagna Day on Friday with a tasty bang Image Credit: Supplied

July 29 has been hailed National Lasagna Day in the United States and die-hard foodies all over the world will understand that the beloved and heavenly lasagna deserves to be celebrated. So lets pay tribute to this hearty dish, by cooking up a storm at home. Our friends at Eataly have shared their delicious recipe for a mouthwatering lasagne primevara, aka the veggetable lasagna. 

This recipe allows you to cook up a feast for six people; So bring the family and freinds together for a nice home cooked meal. 

Visit www.eataly.com for more Italian inspirations.

Ingredients 


2 cups of whole milk

1 bay leaf

4 to 5 whole black peppercorns

100 g unsalted butter

1/4 cup all-purpose Mulino Marino four

salt to taste

pinch of  grated nutmeg

1 clove of garlic

1 bunch fresh basil leaves (about 2 loosely packed cups)

15 tablespoons pine nuts, plus more for garnish

6 tbs of extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling pan

1/4 cup of grated pecorino Romano cheese

24 fresh 4-by-10-inch egg pasta sheets (you can buy these at the Eataly market or selected supermarkets)

coarse sea salt for pasta cooking water

12 spears of asparagus, cut in half lengthwise

1 cup of fresh shelled peas

1 bowl of ice water for blanching

Preperation


Lasagna cream sauce


1. Pour the milk in a small saucepan with the bay leaf and the pepper corns. Warm over low heat.

2. Strain out and throw away the bay leaf and peppercorns.

3. In another small saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in flour properly. Try not to leave any clumps. You do this by whisking constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes.

4. Add the warm milk 2 tablespoons at a time, stirring to combine between additions. Add the sea salt to taste and cook, stirring, until the mixture has the consistency of cream. tHat should be in about 15 minutes.

Pesto sauce


1. Place the garlic and a generous pinch of sea salt in a large mortar and grind until it's crushed and pasty.

2. Add about a quarter of the basil leaves to the mortar and grind until broken down. Continue to add the basil a little at a time.

3. Add the pine nuts and grind until crushed.

4. Add the oil and grind until the pesto is creamy.

5. Finally add pecorino Romano cheese and grind until creamy and thoroughly combined.

Pasta


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2. When the water is boiling, salt it with the coarse salt and add 4 of the pasta sheets.

3. Cook until the pasta rises to the surface, which should take about 30 seconds and dip in the cold water, and spread them on the dish- towel. Repeat with the remaining pasta.

Vegetables


1. Place the asparagus in a skillet in one layer. Add just enough water to cover it. Then add salt, and simmer over medium heat until just tender. This should be around 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Transfer your asparagus to your bowl of ice water and shock them, to keep the colour bright and gfreen. Then drain, and chop.

3. Add the peas to the same skillet and simmer over medium heat until just tender. Drain and set aside.

Putting it all together


1. Preheat the oven to 230°C.

2. Lightly oil a baking pan.

3. Cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of pasta.

4. Continue assembling the lasagna by topping the layer of pasta with bechamel sauce, then pasta, then pesto and cheese, then pasta again, then vegetables, then pasta. Repeat process until you have 9 layers. 

9. Spread the remaining béchamel on top, sprinkle on the remaining of pecorino Romano.

10. Bake until a crust forms and the top is browned, about 10 minutes. If the top has not browned after 10 minutes, place under the broiler until it does, which should be about 4 minutes.