If you're like me, your garden at the moment is full to overloaded with courgettes. My goodness, but they are a prolific vegetable, and can grow to the size of a marrow overnight if you don't catch them in time. I like to freeze a lot of mine to use in the winter in breads, muffins and soups. I just grate them and them pack them in freezer bags in pint sized amounts. Just the perfect size.
I also like to use them fresh out of the garden. We sometimes eat them raw, cut into batons, with tasty dips, or chopped into salads. I often cook them into delicious casseroles, or cut them into sticks and bread them. Lightly fried these are lovely served with a tasty garlic dip as a starter.
You can stuff them with delicious stuffings composed of herbs, onion, bread crumbs and cheese.
My favourite way of all though is to stog them into a delicious Vegetarian Lasagna. I saw a version of this in last month's Delicious magazine and ear marked it for future use. I finally had the chance to make it yesterday.
This was amazing, purely amazing, but don't take my word for it. Make some for yourself . . .
Now . . .
*Summer Vegetable Lasagna with Blue Cheese and Pinenuts*
Serves 4 to 6
This is one of the most delicious lasagna's I have ever eaten. Rich and creamy and full of flavour. Who says Vegetarian food has to be boring!
For the Bechamel:
50g of butter, plus extra for buttering the pan
50g of plain flour
1/2 litre of full fat milk
1 tsp of marigold vegetable boullion powder
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 TBS olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 medium courgettes, washed, sliced in half lengthwise and then into half moons
500g spinach, stalks removed
1 285-g jar of roasted peppers in oil, drained and sliced
50 toasted pinenuts
the grated zest of one lemon
200g of blue cheese, crumbled
80g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
200g ricotta cheese
9 fresh lasagna sheets
Heat the oil in a skillet and gently cook the onions, without browning, for 5 minutes or so, until soft and fragrant. Scoop the onions out into a bowl. Add the courgettes to the drippings in the pan and cook, until lightly browned, 6 minutes or so. Remove and place in the bowl with the onions. Place the trimmed spinach into a colander and pour boiling water over it until it is wilted. Refresh it under cold running water and then drain really well. Place it into an old tea towel and squeeze dry. Chop. Place into the bowl along with the onions and courgettes.
Melt the butter for the bechamel in a medium saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook for one minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk. Return to the heat and cook, whisking constantly until this bubbles and thickens. Whisk in the bouillon powder and the pepper. Remove from the heat.
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/375*F. Butter a 2 litre lasagna dish.
Stir the pinenuts, peppers, lemon zest and all three cheeses into the spinach mixture, reserving a bit of the blue cheese and the parmesan for on the top of the lasagna.
LIne the baking dish with three sheets of pasta. Spoon over 1/3 of the bechamel. Spread half of the vegetable mixture over top. Add another 3 sheets of lasagna. Spoon over another 1/3 of the bechamel and then spread with the other half of the vegetable mixture. Top with the final 3 sheets of pasta. Cover with the remaining bechamel and sprinkle the last of the Parmesan cheese over all. Dot with the remainder of the blue cheese.
Bake in the heated oven for 50 to 60 minutes until bubbling and golden on top. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve cut into squares.