Over the weekend I was working on a project that turned into a whole lot of fun. April 19th is National Garlic Day and as such, the perfect excuse to delve into some garlic experimenting, pungent enough to deter even the most adamant vampire. With wild garlic season in full swing, I have been itching to find new ways to use these fragrant leaves. Something that kept coming back to me was the idea of a wild garlic lasagne; the combination of the garlic with sweet tomato passata, layered with silky pasta seems somewhat godly to me. With a task at hand, I had the perfect excuse to get testing!!
The idea of a ‘vegetarian lasagne’ never sits easily with me. What does that even mean? What kind of vegetable? Be more specific! With this recipe, I wanted it to escape this dreary description and simply be a celebration of an ingredient that isn’t meat. Instead of focusing only on wild garlic, I decided to embrace National Garlic Day whole heartedly and make this oft unexciting dish, a celebration of garlic in several of its guises. With that, Triple Garlic Lasagne was born!
This decadent take on the Italian classic makes the most of the humble bulb, transforming it from sidekick to star. The recipe layers the flavours of three garlic varieties so that every mouthful is a revelation. The béchamel and passata are infused with smoked garlic, while the mushroom layer gets an umami kick from the balsamic notes of black garlic. Taking it all to a new garlic height is a layer of luscious wild garlic pesto. If that isn’t enough excitement, the whole affair is sealed with a layer of smoked mozzarella.
You are welcome.
Ingredients (for 4)
3 cloves of black garlic (I use South West Garlic Farm)
2 cloves of smoked garlic
6 layers of fresh lasagne sheets
300ml smoked garlic infused béchamel sauce (make a basic béchamel sauce, adding 6 whole, unpeeled cloves of smoke garlic. They will add a subtle smokiness to your sauce)
150g smoked mozzarella
100g wild garlic pesto (make as you would basil pesto, reducing the amount of garlic cloves to 1)
450g chestnut mushrooms
Handful of chopped parsley
50g grated parmesan for the top
1tbsp toasted pine nuts
You Will Need
Oven-proof dish, olive oil, agave syrup/sugar, salt and pepper.
1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 180°C (fan)/ 400°F/ Gas 6
Peel and chop 2 cloves of smoked garlic
2 Heat a medium sized pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over a medium heat
Add the smoked garlic to the pan when hot
Allow the garlic to come to a ‘dance’ (never a tango!)
Add the passata and a squeeze of agave to the pan, turning the heat down. Cover and allow to reduce while you prepare the rest. Taste after a few minutes. Season
3 Peel and chop the 3 cloves of black garlic
Wash and slice the mushrooms. Set aside
Heat a medium sized pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over a medium heat and add the black garlic when hot. Simmer for 1 minute
Add your mushrooms, a handful of chopped parsley and stir every so often until browned nicely. Set aside
4 Now to assemble the lasagne!
Lather the bottom of the baking dish with some passata and a few dollops of pesto
Layer 2 lasagne sheets on top
Top with a third of the passata, mushrooms and pesto.
Repeat until you have 3 layers (I like to sneak a few torn pieces of smoked mozzarella in the middle layer to increase the euphoria!)
5 Pour the béchamel over the top, sprinkle with the grated parmesan, and top with the rest of the smoked mozzarella
Finish with a grind of pepper
6 Put the dish in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the top is browned and bubbling
Allow to cool before serving
Top with the toasted pine nuts and your best looking wild garlic leaf to up that Instagram factor, if that’s what you’re after. Either way, enjoy!