Home > Food, Provenance, Wine > False Bay Rosè with Lasagna Senza Carne

False Bay Rosè with Lasagna Senza Carne

Preparation Time: 60 minutes Cooking Time: 60 minutes Yield: 4

It’s hard to not believe in serendipity when the perfect wine for a dish you’ve just crafted lands on your doorstep.

In the very week that I created this recipe, a gift pack of False Bay wines from the nearby Waterkloof Estate arrived.

False Bay is Waterkloof’s entry level range, which consists of three whites, a rosè and two reds. They’re all affordable quaffers, at around R55 per bottle at the cellar door, and although they’re not made from grapes grown on the farm, cellar master Werner Engelbrecht affords their making the same attention as he does the Peacock Ridge, Circumstance, Circle of Life and Waterkloof wines. The Rosè turned out to be the perfect match with this dish, although we opened the Sauvignon Blanc to drink while cooking anyway! And so to the recipe….

The origin of the name of a dish is often the most fascinating thing to track down. Paella, that quintessential Spanish dish is one such. The name describes neither the dish itself, nor any one of its ingredients. Rather, it describes the pan in which the dish is prepared, and traditionally served. The paella is a large shallow pan with two handles, purpose designed for the preparation of the much loved Valencian dish.

Lasagna, my research reveals is also named after the utensil in which it was traditionally prepared. Legend has it that the Romans borrowed the Greek word “lasana” (trivet or stand for a pot) or “lasanon” (chamber pot) which became “lasanum” in Latin, and means cooking pot. And so over time, the utensil in which the dish was prepared became the name of the dish, which became lasagna in modern Italian.

What is also fascinating is that lasagne is plural, and refers to the pasta sheets used in making the dish, which became the accepted name in the UK. The correct name for the dish is the singular, lasagna.

Succulent vegetarian Lasagna

Often consisting of sheets of lasagne interleaved with either a simple tomato sauce or ragù (southern Italy) or a béchamel sauce (northern Italy), it is most popularly made with a both a ragù and béchamel sauce elsewhere in the world.

Then of course, there is the vegetarian version, with a wide variety of fillings.

Left over pasta sheets from last week’s recipe of cannelloni prompted me to explore the possibilities and to come up with a vegetarian version that would actually taste like something, my carnivorous instincts notwithstanding.

It turned out fabulously. Ever fastidious daughter Alex gave it the thumbs up, a sure sign that it’s good!

Ingredient Selection and Preparation

125g lasagne sheets: this is a bit of a guess. I made my own pasta sheets, and I used about eight sheets in two layers. Buy a 250g pack and use what you need, then store the balance in a zip-lock bag.

150g white cheddar cheese: grated.

100g Parmesan cheese: or equivalent, grated.

(Filling)

2 medium onions: peeled and chopped.

2 medium melanzane (aubergine): peeled, cubed 1cm, and disgorged. disgorging involves sprinkling the cubed melanzane liberally with salt and leaving it to stand for 30 to 60 minutes, then rinsing it well five or six times. This removes any traces of bitterness from the melanzane.

1 medium red and yellow pepper: cubed 1cm.

250gm white button mushrooms: chopped.

3 cloves garlic: crushed.

Salt and pepper to taste

4tbsp olive oil

(Béchamel sauce)

1litre milk

1 bouquet garni: parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme.

2 bay leaves

½ an onion

10 peppercorns

1 mace blade

90g flour

90g butter

Method

Add all the béchamel sauce ingredients (except the flour and butter) to a jug and nuke ‘em in the microwave until almost boiling, then set aside to steep. Alternatively, heat on the stove top.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan, and sweat the onion until it is translucent and soft.

Add the mushrooms and cook soft, followed by the peppers, until cooked soft. Stir in the crushed garlic, season to taste with salt and pepper and cook for about five more minutes.

Make the béchamel sauce. First, strain the milk into a suitable pouring jug. If the milk has cooled down appreciably, heat it again until just before boiling.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan then add the flour in a steady dribble, stirring all the time with a balloon whisk.

Cook for about two minutes stirring periodically.

Add about 100ml of milk, and work in well with the whisk. Keep adding milk in increments of about 100 to 150 ml, stirring all the time with the whisk to eliminate lumps.

Once all the milk is added, cook the sauce until it starts to bubble. This is important to ensure that the flour is properly cooked. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon and spread evenly half the vegetable mixture into an oven casserole, and pour 1/3 of the béchamel sauce over the top. Spread it evenly with a spatula if necessary.

Cover completely with lasagne sheets.

Repeat the veg/béchamel/lasagne sheet layers, and finish off with the balance of the béchamel sauce on top.

Evenly sprinkle with the white cheddar, and set aside for 45 to 60 minutes. This is important, because it allows the pasta to absorb liquid which will ensure that it cooks soft.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C, and bake in mid oven for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese.

Place under the grill until the cheese is golden brown.

Serve with a green salad. Enjoy!

Fabulous 2010 False Bay Rosè compliments this luscious vegetarian lasagna

The 2010 False Bay Rosè fruit comes from a block of old Cinsaut vines in Stellenbosch, with a soupcon of Mourverdre out of Paarl to give complexity.

Deep coral pink in colour, it offers spicy floral notes on strawberry and raspberry aromas.

In the mouth, it’s all about fresh summery red berry fruit, on well balanced acidity. The mid-palate has breadth and the finish is long and fruity.

This is one of those rare matches where the wine intensifies the flavours of the food, and vice versa.

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