Between the sheets

No, this is not an erotic novel.

Sorry to disappoint if you’ve clicked on here looking for something more sultry. All you’ll find here is lashings of thick, creamy béchamel sauce and a few soaked sheets, of pasta.

We’ll be keeping it strictly family-friendly with a vegan lasagne accompanied by a cashew béchamel and cashew pesto.

[Attitude – Lewis Ofman, Cactus Club records, 2020]
[LÉON – Who You Lovin, LÉON Recordings, 2020]

Shopping list (serves 6)
Green lentils x 150ml
Echallion shallots (very finely diced) x 5
Medium carrots (finely chopped) x 3
Celery stick (finely chopped) x 1
Courgette (finely chopped) x 1
Sweet red pepper (finely chopped) x 1
Garlic cloves (grated) x 4
Dried wild/porcini mushrooms x 30g
Sun-dried tomato paste x 180g
Sun-dried tomatoes x 80g
White wine x 150ml
Fresh oregano x 1 large handful
Ground coriander x 1 tsp
Smoked paprika x 1 tsp
Vegetable stock cube x 1
Extra virgin olive oil
Lasagne sheets x 6-8 sheets

Cashew béchamel:
Cashew milk x 500ml
Plain flour x 75g
Good quality vegan margarine or spread x 125g
Fresh nutmeg x 1 tsp

Cashew pesto:
Cashew nuts (toasted) x 100g
Basil leaves x 60g
Spinach leaves x 60g
Juice of 1 lemon
yeast flakes x 2 tsp
Extra virgin olive oil x 8 tbsp
Pinch of salt

Start by popping your dried mushrooms and stock cube in 2L of boiled water, and simmer on a very low heat for at least 30 minutes. Once done, scoop out the mushrooms and finely chop. Set them aside and keep the liquid simmering very gently with a lid on.

Make sure your oven is set at 220 degrees celsius (200 fan)

Add your onion, red pepper and a glug of oil to a large casserole dish, and fry on a medium heat for 10 minutes or until the onion is soft and the peppers have started to release some of their colour. Season well.

Add your garlic, fry for a further 5 minutes before adding the rest of the fresh vegetables, including your mushrooms. Fry on a high heat for 10 minutes. Add your lentils, spices, tomatoes, tomato paste, and white wine. Continue to cook on high for another 5 mintues. Season well.

Pour in the mushroom liquid. Cover and place in the oven for 20 minutes before reducing the heat down to 160 (140 fan) and leaving for at least two hours.

Remove from the oven and stir through your oregano. Set aside.

To make your cashew béchamel, bring the cashew milk up the boil. At the same time melt your vegan margarine/spread, and whisk in the flour well. Gradually add the hot milk, whisking constantly until you have a creamy consistency. Add a good pinch of salt, and half a tsp of the nutmeg. Set aside.

To make your pesto, simply combine all the ingredients in a blender.

Evenly layer your lasagne sheets, béchamel and vegan ragu in an ovenproof dish. For the top layer, cover generously with béchamel and dust over the remaining nutmeg. Sprinkle with a touch more salt and a few torn basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and put back in the oven at 200 degrees (180 fan) for 40 minutes.

Leave to rest for 15 minutes before serving alongside your pesto.



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