Inquiring minds want to know! I made this quirky but superbly delicious dish for my bookclub on my birthday, and I’m not sure who will actually go to the trouble of making this, but apparently many of you want it on the blog to at least contemplate.
Making this is a labor of love– like childbirth– a lot of effort which afterwards you forget all about in the resulting joy and bliss.
This has so much satisfying umami, you’ll swear it has mushrooms in it.
Note: You will need a pasta machine to do this recipe. I suppose you could use grocery store sheets of fresh pasta, but they will be thicker and heavier. If you go this route cook them before assembling the lasagna. That, said, definitely try making your own if you have access to a pasta machine.
There are many steps to this, including making your own very thin noodles, but just take it one step at a time and you’ll arrive at something wonderful. Feel free to do it in stages to break up the work.
You can make this the day before and refrigerate it covered overnight, letting sit on the counter the next day for an hour before baking.
And leftovers to this warm up just fine (see bottom photo).
Buy organic where you can.
Blistered Grape and Roasted Cauliflower Lasagna Recipe
2 bunches large red seedless grapes, washed and removed from their stems
2 large heads of cauliflower, leaves removed, and sliced in 1cm slices
2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
4 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 medium shallot, minced
1 dried bay leaf
4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated (for bechamel)
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup “00” pasta flour
1 large egg
3 large egg yolks
2 cups Greyere cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated (for top of lasagna)
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Make the Pasta Dough:
Mound the “00” flour on a clean surface. Create a well in the center, and add the egg and yolks. Using a fork incorporate the flour into the eggs in a circular motion until it starts to act like dough. Begin kneading it, adding a bit of flour as necessary to not let it stick. (If it is too crumbly, add a small amount of water one teaspoon at a time until it is the right consistency.) Continue kneading the dough for about 10 minutes, until it is smooth. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
Blister the Grapes:
Put on the broiler and your place your top oven rack 3 inches from it.
Line a cookie sheet with foil and scatter the clean grapes on it. Broil the grapes for 20-25 minutes, checking them often to make sure they do not burn. They will begin to shrivel, split and release their juices. You want them blistered and only slightly charred. If some get too charred, just peel off the brittle black bits when they cool. Once they are cool, scrape the grapes and their juices into a small mixing bowl and set aside.
Roast the Cauliflower:
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Toss the cauliflower in two tablespoons of avocado oil and roast for 40- 50 minutes, stirring a couple times. You want the cauliflower tender, browning, and starting to caramelize. Set aside.
Make the Bechamel:
In a sauce pot over medium heat melt the butter. Slowly stir in the flour and whisk until combined and foamy. Add the shallot and bay leaf, stirring for a minute. Slowly whisk in the milk, cream, and a few generous pinches of salt. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer, whisking often to be sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom, for 10 minutes. Dip a spoon into the sauce– if it runs off it needs to cook longer, if the back of the spoon is evenly coated, its done. Discard the bay leaf.
Remove from the heat and add the Parmesan and nutmeg. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.
Make the Noodles:
Line a couple baking sheets with clean linen towels. Get a large pot of water boiling with a few pinches of salt. On the side have a bowl of cold water with ice.
Set your pasta machine to the thickest setting (1), and divide your ball into four pieces and flatten them into discs. Roll through a piece on the first setting and repeat until the thinnest setting, cutting in half when the length gets unwieldy. Pop them into the boiling water for a minute, then transfer them to the ice water. Remove them from the ice water and place on one of the clean dish towels not overlapping. Spray with oil if desired (if you work fast you don’t need to; they won’t dry out.) Repeat process for the other three discs of dough.
Assemble the Lasagna:
Lightly oil a 9″x13″ casserole dish.
Spread 1/2 cup of the bechemel in the bottom. Add one layer of the thin pasta sheets, arranging them to fit the pan. For the next four layers, spread 1/2 cup bechamel, scatter a cup of the roasted cauliflower, a scattering of minced fresh rosemary, then dotted by a layer of grapes (about 1/2 cup), followed by 1/3 cup Greyere, and then repeat after another layer of pasta. You will have four or five layers total. For the final layer (the top) spread the bechamel, cauliflower, grapes, Greyere, plus 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan.
Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
Toast the slivered almonds in the oven until just starting to brown.
Bake the lasagna for an hour or a little more, until the top starts to brown. Take out and scatter more rosemary on the top and cook for 15 or 20 minutes more, until golden.
Let rest for 25 minutes, and garnish with the toasted almonds.
Wow. What a flavor bomb. Enjoy!