The Absolute Best Vegetarian Lasagna

Photo by Tempest R.
Adapted from wsj.com

PREP TIME

--

minutes

TOTAL TIME

--

minutes

SERVINGS

6

servings

PREP TIME

--

minutes

TOTAL TIME

--

minutes

SERVINGS

6

servings

Adapted from wsj.com

Ingredients

  • For the Bread Bolognese:

  • 1/2

    of a standard (1-pound) whole-wheat sourdough boule, 2 days old

  • 6

    tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed

  • 1

    cup cooked and drained wheat berries (optional)

  • 2

    cups minced red onion

  • 2

    cups minced carrot

  • 2

    cups minced celery

  • 1/2

    teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 1/4

    teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

  • 1

    teaspoon minced garlic

  • 1

    cup white wine

  • 2

    (28-ounce) cans whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, drained

  • 1

    cup heavy cream

  • 3/4

    pound Parmesan, rind and cheese separated, cheese grated

  • 1 1/2

    teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • 1

    pinch nutmeg

  • For the Lasagne:

  • 5

    tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 5

    tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 1/2

    cups whole milk

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 15

    lasagna noodles, cooked according to package instructions

  • 1

    cup grated Parmesan

Directions

Make Bolognese: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Separate bread crust from interior crumb. In a food processor, pulse interior of bread until crumbled to resemble ground meat, 15-20 seconds. Reserve 1½ cups bread crumbs. Pulse crusts in food processor until crumbled to resemble ground meat, 40-60 seconds. Reserve 2 cups bread-crust crumbs. (Leftover crumbs can be frozen for another use.) Heat 6 tablespoons olive oil in a large cast iron pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, toast crumbs from bread’s interior, stirring constantly, until crisp, 3-4 minutes. Add half of bread-crust crumbs to pot and continue to toast until deep brown and fragrant, 3-4 minutes more, adding olive oil as needed to keep bread moist. Add wheat berries, if using, and toast until they color, 1-2 minutes more. Add onions, carrots and celery to pot. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring constantly and scraping crumbs from pan as they stick, until vegetables caramelize, 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until soft, 7-8 minutes. Add wine to deglaze pan, scraping up browned bits from bottom. Continue to cook until liquid is reduced and absorbed, 2 minutes. Add tomatoes use a whisk to crush. Add cream and Parmesan rind. Bring to a simmer, then stir in remaining crumbs from bread crust. Transfer to oven and cook 30 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in mustard, grated Parmesan and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove Parmesan rind and discard. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees. Make Béchamel: Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until paste bubbles but does not brown, 2-3 minutes. Slowly, while stirring, add milk. Béchamel sauce will thicken. Bring sauce to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook béchamel, stirring, until it coats the back of a spoon, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Assemble Lasagna: Smear interior of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with a small amount of bolognese. Line bottom of pan with a layer of lasagna noodles, overlapping slightly. Spread noodles with 2/3 cup béchamel, then top with 1½ cups bolognese. Repeat process twice more, then sprinkle top with Parmesan. Bake until browned and bubbling, 45 minutes.

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