Puy lentil, roasted garlic, mushroom and pancetta lasagne
( SERVES 6 )
A very stylish winter’s lasagne. Brown lentils will make a very acceptable substitute for puy lentils, though cooking time may be a little less. The amount of beef stock required will depend on the lentils. Use water if you do not have any more beef stock. Do not use red lentils as these will turn to mush. Use bacon in place of pancetta if wished.
- Heat the oven to 180C. Grease an 8-cup capacity ovenproof lasagne-style dish.
- Cut one large mushroom into thin slices and set aside to use later for the top. Chop the remaining mushrooms evenly.
- Cut the garlic bulbs in half horizontally and squeeze out every drop of cooked paste.
- Pan-fry the pancetta slices in a large lidded frying pan until crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to a plate and crumble. Set aside. Add the olive oil to any fat remaining from the pancetta in the pan and cook the diced mushrooms and garlic until the mushrooms are well softened.
- Stir in the lentils and beef stock. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes until the lentils are tender. The mix should not be dry, but sauce-like. Stir in most of the pancetta and season with salt and pepper, if wished.
- Into the prepared dish, spoon one-third of the lentils and then cover with a layer of pasta. Using a thin-bladed knife or cheese peeler, cut the mozzarella into the thinnest possible slices and layer one-third of it on top of the pasta. Repeat layers, finishing with a layer of cheese. Sit the reserved slices of mushrooms on top.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until hot and golden. Serve immediately, garnished with the remaining pancetta, accompanied with a fresh tomato salad or baked tomatoes and crusty bread to mop up the juices.
Roasted garlic bulbs
Drizzle garlic bulbs with oil, wrap securely in foil and bake at 180C for 35-45 minutes or until a skewer can be inserted easily into the centre of the bulb. Keep in an airtight ceramic dish in the fridge (avoid using plastic dishes, the flavour permeates through the plastic).
Soak dried lentils for a few hours, drain, rinse well, boil in plenty of fresh water and drain well again. Rinse canned lentils very, very well under running cold water to remove excess sodium and the oligosaccharides. Eat lentils with digestive friendly spices — ginger, fennel, cumin. Begin your friendship with lentils slowly, about ¼ cup three times a week to give your gut time to adjust.