Marco’s vegetable lasagne
Time: approx 2 hrs 25
A delicious lasagne which takes some effort but is really worth it, with delicious celeriac taking taking the place of lasagne sheets.
Recipe source: Marco Pierre White
For the celeriac sheets:
- 1 celeriac
- ½ lemon
- Sea salt
For the bechamel sauce:
- 75g unsalted butter
- 50g plain flour
- 500ml whole milk
- 50ml double cream
- 1 bay leaf
For the ragù:
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled & grated
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled & grated
- 2 medium-sized carrots, finely diced
- 200g celeriac, peeled & finely diced
- 1 celery stick, finely diced
- 1 cauliflower, florets only, finely diced
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- Sea salt
- Ground white pepper
- 500ml tomato sauce (see Marco’s tomato sauce recipe, or use shop-bought passata)
- 100g Italian vegetarian cheese, Parmesan-style, grated
Poaching the celeriac for the lasagne sheets:
Trim and discard the roots from the celeriac, and peel the celeriac, retaining its shape.
Rub the celeriac with the lemon to help prevent discolouration.
Bring a large saucepan of water to a gentle simmer.
Place the celeriac in a roasting bag (or vacuum-seal bag or clingfilm blanket). Add a pinch or two of salt and then seal the bag.
Place the sealed celeriac in the pan of water and poach for 75 minutes. Try to keep the water’s temperature at just below boiling point (about 95°C).
Once out of the pan, allow the sealed celeriac to cool before removing it from the bag. Retain the juices, as they’ll be needed to make the sauce.
To make the bechamel sauce:
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, add the flour and whisk for 3–4 minutes.
Pour in the milk, continuing to whisk. Grate a few rasps of nutmeg into the sauce – to your taste.
Pour in the cream and add the bay leaf, and season with salt and white pepper.
Over a low-medium heat, keep stirring with the whisk for 10–15 minutes. Set to one side.
To make the ragù:
Heat the olive oil in a large casserole pan on a medium-high heat and add the onions and garlic. Work them across the base of the pan, so that they cook evenly and quickly.
Add the diced carrots, celeriac, celery, cauliflower, thyme and bay leaves and stir well. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook, letting the water content evaporate from the vegetables.
Add the tomato sauce and continue to cook until the ragù is reduced but the texture of the vegetables is retained – don’t let them break down and become mushy.
Remove the thyme and bay leaves and put the ragù to one side.
Preheat the oven to 160°C / 140°C Fan / Gas Mark 3.
Finely slice the poached celeriac to the width and thickness of lasagne pasta sheets.
Drizzle oil all over a casserole dish. Spread a layer of ragù into the casserole dish and lay celeriac ‘sheets’ on top to cover.
Spoon bechamel sauce over the celeriac and sprinkle with grated cheese. Add another layer of the ragù, and spoon over more bechamel sauce, followed by a layer of celeriac.
Continue to build up the layers, and add a final layer of celeriac sheets. Apply a little pressure to compact everything down in the casserole dish.
Season, and smooth bechamel sauce over the surface of the lasagne, and sprinkle with the last of the grated cheese.
Bake for about 30 minutes, scatter a little more salt over the top, and serve.