I was meant to post this recipe yesterday but after receiving devastating news about my friends death I couldn’t function for the rest of the day. She died in a freak accident whilst hiking in the Drakensberg. She was young, energetic, beautiful inside and out and she was snatched away far too soon. My friend Kelly was a happy go lucky, adventurous soul and nothing stopped her from reaching her goals. I think it’s why she was so determined to carry on with her mountain climbing only this time it would be different.
She loved life and I suppose she died doing what she loved. She is someone I will never forget, she holds a special place in my heart. Whilst typing out this Butternut Zucchini Lasagna I couldn’t help but think of the time she was helping me cook for a charity event. We had to cut tons of veggies and chicken to cook this curry for an “army”. Kelly was the ring master, giving everyone orders and she worked so hard and we had so many laughs together. She always called me to ask for recipes and if she wasn’t sure how to cook a curry. Not forgetting all her words of wisdom, she loved uplifting and motivating people. I am going to miss her terribly.
Here’s my recipe:
I love veggies but the idea of a whole bunch of veggies with pasta doesn’t appeal to me. I therefore decided to stick to two of my most favourite veggies and just left all the others out of the mix. Although I did buy a whole lot of veggies to use in this dish. Butternut and Zucchini Lasagna sounded good to me.
If a Butternut is roasted and I am eating it as a side dish I don’t mind it being chunky. However, when it comes to lasagna I prefer tiny bits of veggies. I therefore popped my butternut and zucchini/baby marrow into the food processor and processed it into tiny little pieces. This was much more appealing to me and my fussy eaters too.
In the past I always made my lasagna with a tomato sauce but this time I decided to use a white/béchamel sauce with some sundried pesto. This was super delicious, I have also used a red pepper pesto before and it also works well. Guess what, my pesto is store bought. I prefer it that way. When I do try to make my own little condiments I find that we eat just a little and the balance of it gets thrown away. This way I buy just what I need and there’s no wastage. Next time if I am a little more organised maybe I can make my own pesto for this lasagna.
Woolworths pesto’s are amazing, I’ve tried all of them and they all taste great. If you really can’t get your hands on some pesto feel free to use a tomato sauce as a replacement. You can still add the white sauce as it gives the dish a lovely creaminess.A lasagna will just not taste as good without loads of cheese.
Well this one time I am not regretting the cheese. You can also prep everything in advance for this lasagna and assemble when you’re ready. You can also separate them into little portions, freeze and bake them. I have loads of pasta dishes on my blog, it’s because I love pastas that much:
Butternut and Zucchini Lasagna
- 12 dry lasagna sheets
- 140 grams sundried tomato pesto
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 500 gram butternut
- 350 gram zucchini/baby marrow
- 3 large cloves garlic smashed and finely chopped
- 2 tspn dried italian herbs
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1&1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 3 cups milk full cream or low fat
- Melt the butter on medium heat. Add the flour and cook for a minute. It will form a thick paste. Whisk in milk, a little at a time. Stir at regular intervals until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper and set aside
Preparing the Veg
- Cut the butternut and zucchini/baby marrow into chunks. Place it in a food processor and pulse until they are chopped into tiny pieces
- Add the oil to a large pan. Add the garlic and thyme and sauté for a minute. Add the butternut and zucchini with the dried Italian herbs and cook until golden brown and slightly caramelized.
- Mix in the pesto and heat through. Season with salt and pepper
- Mix in the grated parmesan
Layering the Lasagna
- Using a large rectangular ovenproof dish and depending on how large the dish is you may require 3 to 4 sheets of lasagna per layer
- Cook the lasagna sheets as per package instructions and place them individually on a flat sheet of baking paper. Grate the cheese and set aside. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
- Pour half a cup of the white sauce at the bottom of the dish
- Place 3-4 lasagna sheets on top of the sauce
- Add one third of the veggies on top
- Add another layer of lasagna sheets. Pour half a cup of white sauce on top. Add another third of the veggies
- Place more lasagna sheets on top. Pour over half cup of white sauce
- Add the last bit of veggies on top. Add a final layer of lasagna sheets. Pour the remaining sauce over. Sprinkle with cheese and some paprika
- Cover with a foil and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 25-30 minutes or until lasagna is cooked. In the last 5 minutes of cooking time turn the grill function on and allow the cheese to turn a golden brown