White lasagne with vegetables

One who reads guidebooks about Lebanon will no doubt be informed of all the civilizations that the country has experienced:  Phoenicians, Greeks,  Romans ( hundreds of temples left behind) to name but a few; and of course the Ottoman presence which lasted a few centuries.

However, there is no mention of the more recent Italian influence in Lebanon (about two hundred year-old)  especially in architecture. In traditional homes, interior columns were made with marble imported from Italy. Ceilings painted by Italian artists. Doors and windows carved by Italian carpenters.

I had a vague notion of this fact, but got a tangible proof when I took my daughter to her language school (she is taking a course in urban Arabic). There, right on the door, was the word Trieste 1831.

All of that to point out that Lebanese folks love the Italians and love especially Italian cuisine these days.

Hence the inspiration for this white lasagne, made with roasted eggplants and zucchini, smothered in white sauce and flavored with fresh basil.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 to 18 sheets of white lasagne pasta
  • 1 1/2 pounds of eggplant
  • 1 1/2 pounds of zucchini
  • 12 ounces of grated parmesan (fresh if possible)
  • white sauce: 3 cups of milk
  • 6 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 cup of flour +2 tablespoons
  • dash of nutmeg, white pepper, salt
  • one fresh bunch of basil, chopped up
  • olive oil as needed

METHOD:

  1. Clean and slice the eggplants and zucchinis. Sprinkle with salt and set aside for one hour. Wipe them clean and slather with olive oil; roast in the oven, flipping to the other side, till well done and browned in spots. Set aside.
  2. Make the white sauce; heat the milk in the microwave till scalding. Melt the butter, stir the flour in and when the mixture is well mixed and bubbles up, add the milk in small increments, stirring constantly, till thickened and smooth. Add a dash of nutmeg and white pepper.
  3. Boil the lasagne noodles till halfway done; butter the pan and start layering the veggies first; add some basil and a row of pasta sheets. then a few ladles of white sauce, sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Layer again with veggies, add the chopped basil, adding two layers of veggies if necessary and finally one layer of pasta, the sauce and a generous sprinkling of parmesan. Add to the top layer a few tablespoons of cream or butter and bake in a preheated oven at 350F for about 30 minutes until the lasagne is cooked and the top is browned in parts and puffed up. Sprinkle with some chopped basil and serve.

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28 Comments

  1. Posted September 25, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Looks wonderful and so tasty!

  2. Posted September 25, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    A wonderful dish! Different from the usual lasagne but as good…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. Posted September 25, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    i love vegetable lasagna… it’s one of those things you make and can’t believe how good it is… simple cheesy good. great recipe… oh yes, I made those great potatoes with mint and basil..delish!

  4. Posted September 26, 2010 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    Yummy lasagne…

  5. SYLVIA
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 3:07 am | Permalink

    This vegetable lasagna welcomes, and focuses on the flavor of Autumn in style. Bathed in cream, butter and nutty Parmesan cheese makes it so lushes and such comforting food, one of my old time favorites, so rich and delicious you may just have to take a little nap after finishing your plate.

  6. Posted September 26, 2010 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    I just love finding out about the history behind the various cuisines of the world – it is quite a passion of mine – and what a wonderful looking dish – I can’t wait to give it a try.

  7. Posted September 26, 2010 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Que de belles et bonnes choses dans ces lasagnes végétariennes. Elles me plaisent bien en tout cas. Gros bisous Joumana.

    PS : j’ai organisé un concours pour les 1 an de mon blog, si tu souhaites y participer ?

  8. Posted September 26, 2010 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Delicious! And, I do love how a plaque on a door inspired such rich and beautiful dish.

  9. Posted September 26, 2010 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    I was born and live in Trieste, I know very well ” Assicurazioni Generali ” is the leading Italian insurance company, was born in Trieste, December 26, 1831;probably the white plates on that door means that once there was an office.I like lasagne,you can find a tasty recipe in my blog ….have a wonderful sunday….

    http://chiara-lavogliamatta.blogspot.com/2010/09/lasagne-golose-con-pancetta-e-scamorza.html

    A traditional recipe of lasagne :

    http://chiara-lavogliamatta.blogspot.com/2010/03/lasagne-ricche-della-domenica.html

  10. Posted September 26, 2010 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    My favourite kind of lasagne, looks so flavoursome! I really need to plant some more basil.

  11. Posted September 26, 2010 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    This looks amazing – always I learn something from your posts. Yet another fabulous thing to do with eggplant.

  12. Posted September 26, 2010 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I love learning these little tidbits of history and culture on your blog! While part of me is a little embarrassed that I know so little, I’m grateful for the lessons!

  13. Posted September 26, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Contrary to what one could think about Poland, Polish cooking and culture is influenced by Italian folks, too. We have, for example, noodles called “lazanki” – they came from Italy, few hundred years ago, the name comes from Italian “lasagne” (although ours are small squares).
    I like white lasagne more than classical with tomato sauce. In particular, I am a great fun of lasagne with eggplant, like yours!

  14. Posted September 26, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Thats a wonderful dish. So flavourful and delicious.

  15. Posted September 26, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    My mother-in-law always uses gruyere instead of parmesan and I love the difference in flavor. Interesting to learn the Italian connection!

  16. Posted September 26, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    humm!! j’aime beaucoup ces lasagnes aux légumes!! bonne soirée! bises!

  17. Posted September 26, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like Lebanon is so rich with culture! Your lasanga is a true work of art!

  18. Posted September 26, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    You’ve given me such a desire to eat a dish like this. If only I had the ingredients at my finger tips. I really am salivating.

  19. Posted September 26, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    I love the roasted eggplant in this lasagne but I am crestfallen that you didn’t add garlic in here…even a couple of cloves. JOUMANA! ;)

  20. Posted September 26, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Une version végétarienne qui doit être savoureuse et pleine de goûts.
    Je l’adopte.
    A bientôt.

  21. Posted September 26, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    This lasagne sounds incredible! I’ve never made one with a white sauce and my family would really love it!

  22. Posted September 27, 2010 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    This looks and sounds fantastic. The only zucchini version I have had was with grated zukes, this one looks so much better! Really gorgeous!!

  23. Posted September 27, 2010 at 1:12 am | Permalink

    Okay, this is now my favorite lasagna. I never was a fan of boring red sauce anyway, and your pictures and descriptions just blew my mind.

  24. Posted September 27, 2010 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Will you please make it simple for me and just publish an e-book! These are fantastic. Love the meat in the hummus! The granola is my new snack! Your white lasagna looks yummy.
    Wow!
    Doc

  25. Posted September 27, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Vegetable lasagna is one of my very favorite foods, and I love this with the white sauce…wonderful :)

  26. Posted September 27, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Joumana…I’d love to believe that you were thinking of me. LOL

    Here’s a little known fact about what’s going on in Montreal.
    Besides English and French in schools…the Spanish language was the one to learn next. However…in the last few years…Arabic has taken over! You would fit perfectly. When are you coming to visit?

    Ciao for now,
    Claudia

  27. Posted September 29, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    This looks amazing. Never heard of White Lasagna noodles. Wonder if I can make those. And all that melty cheese with the eggplant and zuchinni. YUM!!!!

  28. Posted September 30, 2010 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Waht a delcious veggie lasagna.
    Mimi

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