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Les Petits Chefs make Jamie Oliver’s summer veggies lasagna

This week, I went out on a limb… with vegetables. I know, I know, what was I thinking? 12 little boys and a veggie lasagne with nary a tomato in sight!!  For sure I knew that many of the boys wouldn’t eat beyond a spoonful of this but it’s all about the experience of cooking something which can often translate to a greater willingness to at least try something different.  Not always, but that’s ok. This cooking with kids thing, it’s a journey, not a race!  The great thing about this recipe for kids is that there is plenty to do.  Some outstanding chopping skills were on display this week as the boys tackled asparagus…

… green onions, garlic, mint and thyme…

And some fine cheese grating was happening too!  One of my Petits Chefs is allergic to eggs so he got to frying up some eggplant slices to use instead of the pasta to layer his lasagne…

Some of the boys carefully cut up the pasta sheets – knowing we didn’t have much time, I opted to make individual servings of the lasagne so that it would be cooked in time for the boys to take home so we had to measure our mini baking pans and make sure we had the pasta the right size…

The veggie filling is bright and beautiful:

I don’t have photos of the production line that was the filling of the baking pans as we were very pushed for time and my hands were busy helping little hands work their magic with even(ish) layers of the filling.  For the first time ever in the history of Petits Chefs, we didn’t make enough!  Fortunately one of the boys was very gracious and claimed that he preferred his with just a little of the filling and “lots” of asparagus tips and Parmesan. (His looked pretty yummy, actually!)

It was all I could do to keep their hands off the just-out-of-the-oven tray of deliciousness. And yes, we learned a lesson about evenly coating the pasta sheets. Ahem. It still tasted good, if a little crunchy!

I’m providing the recipe here as we made it. It’s not exactly as Jamie suggests but sometimes in the rush of things in the hour I have with the boys, I take the ingredients and wing it a little. This winging it worked out this week, though I did not drain the cottage cheese and might have done so next time – the sauce was a tad watery…

Jamie Oliver’s summer vegetable lasagne
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A summery lasagne – light and fresh.
Author:
Recipe type: Main course
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • A bunch of scallions, finely chopped
  • Approximately 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed – tips intact and stalks finely chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 cups frozen fava beans
  • 2 cups mixed frozen vegetables
  • 4 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1½ cups vegetable stock
  • 3 cups cottage cheese (drained)
  • 1 cup heavy (35%) whipping cream
  • 200g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 12 fresh lasagne sheets
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425˚F.
  2. Heat a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil.
  3. Gently sauté the scallions for a couple of minutes until soft.
  4. Add the minced garlic and continue to cook over medium heat until the garlic is soft and fragrant – about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the chopped asparagus stalks to the pan along with the peas, corn, fava beans and frozen vegetables
  6. Add the vegetable stock, mint and thyme, stir to combine.
  7. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
  8. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until vegetables are cooked through – about 7-10 minutes.
  9. Add the cottage cheese, the cream, a handful of the Parmesan, give everything a good stir and cook for a few more minutes.
  10. Take the vegetables off the heat and spoon around one quarter of the mixture into a deep dish, large enough for two of the lasagne sheets to lay flat. Top with a lasagne sheet and a handful of Parmesan cheese.
  11. Repeat the layers of vegetable and lasagne sheets until you have used all of the filling, ending with a layer of filling.
  12. Scatter the remaining Parmesan and the asparagus tips over the lasagne.
  13. Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake in the oven for around 15-20 minutes until the topping has browned.

And the finished product???

Well it’s definitely not your average lasagne. I personally thought it was lovely – bright and fresh and a little bit sophisticated.  My own taste tester Mr Neil was not a fan. Not surprising considering he is the person with the pancetta hanging in the basement….   I am proud that most of my Petits Chefs at least tried this.  Many of them really liked it. Some of them not so much. But that’s ok. All I ask is they try.  I am very proud of them – it’s not every group of boys who would happily chop and cook up such a veggie-laden dish. Good job guys. And who knows -  next week, *I* might even surprise you by showing I am paying attention to your “requests’ ;)

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25 Responses to Les Petits Chefs make Jamie Oliver’s summer veggies lasagna

  1. Mr. Neil February 9, 2012 at 08:04 #

    Alas, Mardi is right…not a huge fan. But I have to temper that and say, it’s not as if I disliked it completely. I would not turn it away…just would not be on my “high list”.

    Indeed, some bacon in there would elevate this immensely! :-)

    Otherwise, a touch more cream and cheese I think would add to the “goo” factor and hold all the yummy veggies together.

    Paired this with….well, a glass of water. I was in the work canteen, after all. Otherwise at home a nice grassy New Zealand Sauvingnon Blanc would be my pick.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite February 13, 2012 at 16:10 #

      I’ll make it again with a little more cheese and bacon. I am sure you will love it! Thanks for trying it!

  2. Cher February 9, 2012 at 08:27 #

    Hmmm – this + some bacon sounds pretty good. Looks like the boys did well!

  3. Vicki Bensinger February 9, 2012 at 11:52 #

    This sounds positively delicious. Did you make the pasta sheets or buy them? If you bought them what brand? What a healthy recipe and with cottage cheese and veggies – sounds great!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite February 13, 2012 at 16:09 #

      No we just used the pasta sheets I found at Metro. No time in an hour (and no equipment!) to make it from scratch!

  4. Mr. Neil February 9, 2012 at 13:36 #

    I was reminded of a great t-shirt a contestant on the current Top Chef was wearing: “I Eat Vegans”. tee hee :-)

  5. Paula February 9, 2012 at 16:10 #

    All this done in an hour! You and Les Petits Chefs continue to amaze me. Great idea to use the eggplant in place of the noodles for one student too! I love how bright this dish is and that each of the boys did do a taste test.

    Can’t wait to see the next post from the classroom…your little hint at the end has me curious as to what their requests are.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite February 13, 2012 at 16:09 #

      Yes, Ethan’s eggplant lasagne was pretty yummy too :) Sadly I was not at school today so no Petits Chefs for a couple of weeks (next week it’s Family Day)

  6. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction February 9, 2012 at 16:50 #

    This looks amazing… Summer veggies are my favorites (especially asparagus!)… I am saving this one for when our CSA starts up in a few months!

  7. Ruth February 9, 2012 at 22:26 #

    What a beautiful experience! Do you always teach kids how to cook? I see you are a French teacher :-) that lasagna looks wonderful, I love the colors!

  8. Lisa February 10, 2012 at 06:19 #

    Wow, good job guys (and gals)! :) I’ve made this one a couple of times and you can really play with the ingredients. I managed to make a dairy free one once, using tofutti in place of the cheese. Was still quite yummy!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite February 13, 2012 at 16:07 #

      Nope, just guys – I’m the only gal in cooking club :) And yes, the reason I chose this is because of its versatility – love that about Jamie’s recipes :)

  9. Isabelle @ Crumb February 10, 2012 at 09:42 #

    So nice to see the boys stretching their wings and trying new things. And I’m just amazed that you managed to turn out all those mini-lasagnas, given the time and equipment limitations. Bravo, Petits Chefs!
    I’m a sucker for anything that combines asparagus and cream sauce, so I’m bookmarking this post to try the recipe out once the local asparagus are in season. Can’t wait!
    PS – I’m with Mr Neil. Bacon would be a brilliant addition! :)

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite February 13, 2012 at 16:05 #

      Well it’s not always easy to get them to try new things but I am so proud of how far they have come :) And yes, need to try this with bacon!

  10. 2peas February 12, 2012 at 18:40 #

    Great post. I should do this for the kid instead of the spaghetti and tomato sauce I give him out of laziness.

  11. Tami February 13, 2012 at 21:36 #

    Just love it how my weekly meal planning has been made sooooo much easier since Eat Live Travel Write started – another recipe printed and headed for my kitchen. Thanks Mardi :))

  12. penny aka jeroxie February 14, 2012 at 04:21 #

    That is summer on a plate. Wing or no wing :)

  13. Simply Life February 21, 2012 at 20:09 #

    oh this is so creative! what a fun new take on lasagna!

  14. The Supper Model February 22, 2012 at 16:08 #

    Oh this makes me long for the freshness of summer here in NYC! lovely post

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