Vegetable and Pesto Lasagne

After a couple of different variations, this is the recipe I settled on. It's open to quite a lot of variation, so consider this much more of a guide than a recipe, at least on your second attempt...

For the white sauce:
  • 1 pint milk
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
For the pesto:
  • 50g fresh basil leaves
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1 tbsp toasted sunflower seeds or pine nuts
  • 50g finely grated cheese (traditionally a hard cheese)
For the filling:
  • 1 aubergine
  • 2 red peppers
  • olive oil
  • 250g ricotta cheese
  • 300g fresh spinach
  • 1 large onion
  • pepper
To assemble and finish:
  • lasagne sheets, precooked as necessary
  • fresh basil leaves
  • grated cheese
  • pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C / 400 degrees F / Gas Mark 6. Cut the red peppers into wide strips. Place in a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Rock salt works well for this. Place the garlic cloves for the pesto on the tray as well, unpeeled. Ensure the oil coats everything quite well, then place the tray into the oven. Cook for 45 minutes or until the peppers are tender and possibly blackened around the edges. Remove from
Heat a griddle pan. Slice the aubergine into discs, and drizzle them with olive oil. Cook the slices, on both sides, on the griddle, until they are browned along the griddle lines. Season the cooked slices with pepper and set aside.
Add a little olive oil to a pan. Peel and slice the onion into strips, and fry in the oil until browned. Remove the onions, and put the washed spinach into the pan. Stir and wilt the spinach, but try not to overcook it; it should remain green. Prepare the pesto: Place basil leaves, olive oil, toasted nuts / seeds and roasted garlic into a blender or food processor, and blend until well combined. Mix well with the finely grated cheese.
Prepare the white sauce: In a pan, mix flour and oil until smooth. Place on a medium heat and stir continuously. Add milk, a little at a time, stirring until the mix is smooth each time. When all the milk is added, add the mustard and seasoning. Cook until thick. Scatter some of the wilted spinach over the base of your lasagne dish. Sprinkle some caramelised onions over the top. Add a few of the aubergine slices and strips of pepper, and some of the partially rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes. Spoon small blobs of ricotta around, perhaps in any gaps. Spoon some of the pesto over. Place a layer of lasagne sheets on top, pressing down to even out the layer a bit and spread out the softer elements. Add a little of the white sauce. Repeat with similar layering, finishing with lasagne sheets and the remaining white sauce. Be sure to reserve enough white sauce to completely cover at the end. Top with grated cheese, ground black pepper and your favourite other seasonings, perhaps worcestershire sauce.
Serve topped with torn fresh basil leaves, and a side of garlic bread.