We love lasagna and it's always a favourite on the menu here.
We eat gluten free these days and I've found that using home made gluten free crepes instead of traditional lasagna sheets, means that a yummy lasagna can remain a regular favourite.
If you look at the ingredients in fresh pasta and the ingredients in crepes, they are almost identical, varying only in rations of flour and eggs, so it's not really a huge leap to imagine that this works well :)
The first thing you need to do is make your crepe batter and allow it to rest for thirty minutes. This makes the crepes tender rather than rubbery.
A couple of things that I'd consider essential to easy crepe making are a smallish non stick frypan, and a good metal egg slice/spatula. This might seem obvious, but I can tell you that without them, it's a little trickier than it needs to be. A smallish, shallow, non stick pan means that your crepes will be uniformly shaped and will slide out easily when cooked, and a thin edged metal spatula makes flipping the crepes so much easier that the thicker plastic ones will. It's not that you can't make crepes without those things, but the job will be simpler, quicker and you'll be more likely to make a habit of it (saving money in the process!), if you have the right tools.
I find that making the crepes ahead of time (and eating some for breakfast!), and ensuring that I make enough bolognaise sauce on another night to save some for this recipe, makes this lasagna really quick and easy.
1 cup plain flour
1 cup milk
Cooking spray or a knob of butter wrapped in a wad of paper towel
pinch salt (you'd add a teaspoon of sugar for sweet crepes)
Whisk these ingredients together in a jug until smooth, cover, and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Heat your pan over a medium high heat, and either spray with cooking spray or run the wad of paper towel with the enclosed butter, over the surface of the pan. The heat will melt the butter slightly and impart just a light whisp of fat to the pan.
Pour in quarter of a cup of batter, and quickly swirl it to form an even shape in a larger pan, or to coat the base and reach the edges of a smaller one. Allow to cook until it dries out on the surface, then flip to brown it. Slide it out and continue until all the batter is used.
1 litre of Béchamel Sauce
2 cups of your favourite bolognaise sauce (we adore Julie V's Secret Ragout recipe from the forum)
Large vegetables cut into thin slices and pan fried OR roasted vegetables cut into slices
2 cups grated cheese
My Quick Béchamel Sauce:
4 tablespoons plain flour
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 litre milk
Pinch each of salt and ground nutmeg
Melt the butter in a large 2 litre capacity jug or bowl. Add the flour and mix well. Microwave for 60 seconds.
Heat the milk in a second jug or bowl to steaming, about 2-3 minutes. Add the salt and nutmeg.
Whisk the steaming milk in to the butter-flour roux, until smooth.
Microwave in 60 second bursts, whisking at the end of each 60 seconds until you have a really thick béchamel. If you prefer your béchamel thinner, add an extra 1/2 cup steaming milk or boiling water and whisk thoroughly until it's smooth.
Julie V's Ragout recipe is here.
The vegetables I used this time were silverbeet, pumpkin, and zucchini, but I've used most things including cabbage, carrot sliced lengthwise, tomato, potato, fennel, and eggplant.
To prepare these, I cut the spine from the silverbeet leaves, diced the spines and put them aside for a stir fry. I then tore the leaves into even oblong shapes.
I used a mandolin slicer to slice ultra thin slivers of raw pumpkin from the large piece I'd bought. This is a great strategy as I didn't then even have to pre cook the pumpkin. You can achieve the same with a very sharp knife, but the mandolin makes quick work of it.
I sliced the zucchini lengthwise to achieve long flat slivers.
I made my lasagna in a 20cm square baking dish.
When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 190C.
Layer your ingredients into your baking dish, in whatever order you prefer. I like to do crepe/meat/green veg/orange veg/green veg/béchamel, repeating the layers and finishing with a thick layer of béchamel, generously sprinkled with cheese. But everyone seems to have their own preference. It really matters little.
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly on top.
Enjoy and try not to go back for seconds....or thirds ;0)