Milanese Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

12 sheets of lasagna, precooked in boiling water, then drained
sliced tomatoes, to garnish
Milanese Tomato Sauce:
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 green pepper, cored, deseeded and diced
4 ounces field mushrooms (porcini if possible), chopped
8 basil leaves, torn into pieces
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 bay leaf
6 ounces full-bodied red wine
2 tablespoons tomato purée
14 ounce can chopped tomatoes
8 ounces fresh tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped
Filling:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large eggplant, quartered
2 large zucchinis, quartered
1 large red pepper, cored, deseeded and quartered
1 large yellow pepper cored, deseeded and quartered
1 fennel bulb, quartered
4 shallots or small onions, halved
1 tablespoon dried thyme or similar herb
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cheese Sauce:
2 1/4 cups milk
3 ounces butter
2 ounces unbleached plain white flour
1 egg yolk (optional)
2 ounces gorgonzola, dolce latté or stilton cheese, grated
2 ounces mature vegetarian cheddar cheese, grated
2 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons sour cream (optional)
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Make the tomato sauce well in advance. Heat the oil in a pan, sauté the onion until soft then add the rest of the vegetables and herbs and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook gently to reduce by half. Stir in the tomato puree quickly followed by the canned and fresh tomatoes. Bring to the boil then gently simmer for at least 1 hour (2 hours would be better). Set the sauce aside to cool, then refrigerate.

2. The filling is simple to make. Brush a baking sheet with olive oil; brush each piece of vegetable with oil and arrange on the baking sheet. Season with dried herbs, salt and pepper. Roast in a pre-heated oven, 400°F, until cooked, about 40-60 minutes. Set aside to cool. When cool, you may wish to cut the vegetables further.

3. Make the cheese sauce by warming the milk in a large heavy saucepan. Melt the butter in another saucepan, add the flour and cook for a few minutes without letting it color. Then gradually add the warmed milk, stirring constantly to keep the mixture smooth. When all the milk has been added let the sauce simmer very gently for about 10 minutes. Stir in the egg yolk, if using, cheeses and seasoning and remove from the heat. Add the soured cream and adjust the seasoning, it necessary.

4. To assemble the lasagna, brush the bottom of a 3 5 pint ovenproof dish generously with olive oil. Place 4 sheets of lasagna on the bottom of the dish and top with half of the tomato sauce, half of the roasted vegetables and one-third of the cheese sauce. Top this with 4 more sheets of lasagna and repeat the process until you have one-third of the cheese sauce left, with which to top the remaining layer of lasagna. Garnish with the tomato slices.

5. Place in a preheated oven, 350°F and bake for about 45-55 minutes, or until the top is golden. Allow the lasagna to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6



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