- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds (optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 100 g mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram or 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 6 fresh sage leaves, shredded, or 1 tablespoon dried sage
- 2 large eggplants, cut into 1 cm cubes
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 cans chopped tomatoes, about 400 g each
- 12 sheets fresh lasagne, about 250 g in total
- 2 cups (500 g) cottage cheese
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 1 egg
- 100 ml low–fat milk
- a little freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
- salt and pepper
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
- Add the fennel seeds, if using, and the bay leaf, and cook for a few seconds until they sizzle.
- Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, mushrooms, marjoram or oregano, and sage.
- Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are softened slightly, but not browned.
- Stir in the eggplants and lemon zest, mixing the pieces with the other vegetables so that they absorb the oil and cooking juices.
- Continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Pour in the tomatoes with their juice and add seasoning to taste.
- Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the eggplant mixture for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta in boiling water for 3–5 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente.
- Drain well and lay out on a clean tea towel, in a single layer, to dry.
- Purée the cottage cheese with the flour and egg in a food processor or blender until smooth.
- Add the milk and process again briefly.
- Season to taste with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
- Pour half the eggplant mixture into a large lasagne dish or other large oblong or square ovenproof dish.
- Discard the bay leaf as you do so.
- Cover with half the lasagne, then add the remaining eggplant mixture and top with the rest of the lasagne, overlapping the pieces neatly.
- Pour the cottage cheese mixture over the lasagne to cover it completely.
- Sprinkle the parmesan evenly over the top.
- Bake the lasagne for about 45 minutes or until the topping is set and golden.
- Leave the lasagne to stand for 10 minutes before serving.
- This allows time for the pasta and sauce to cool and ‘set’ slightly.
Preparation: about 30 minutes, plus 10 minutes standing
Cooking: about 1¼ hours