I have been cooking this sauce, or versions of it, since I was weaning my two girls onto solids. They are now five and eight and still enjoy it just as much, although the portion sizes are considerably bigger now. Back in the early days, they would eat the sauce on its own and as they grew older I started stirring it into penne or fusilli to make a delicious pasta sauce. They still love it this way, especially with a huge heap of grated cheese on top, along with a drizzle of olive oil.
It’s one of the easiest sauces in the world to make. All the ingredients are simply roasted in one pan and then blitzed in a food processor with some stock. I don’t even bother to peel the garlic.
It’s extremely adaptable too and you can experiment with whichever vegetables take your fancy – or whichever vegetables you might be trying to sneak past your unsuspecting fussy eater.
I generally cook up a big batch of this sauce and freeze it in individual portions; perfect for a quick tea after school when the kids have clubs to rush off to.
Roast vegetable sauce for pasta
1 butternut squash, chopped into large chunks
1 red pepper, cut into large chunks
1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
3 sticks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 courgettes (zucchini), chopped
3 garlic cloves
glug of olive oil
500ml vegetable stock (low salt)
Preheat the oven to 220°C / gas mark 7.
Place the tomatoes, chopped vegetables and garlic into a large roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil and give it all a good mix to make sure everything is thoroughly covered. Roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes until the vegetables are tender and beginning to char a little.
Put the vegetables into a blender with the stock and blitz until smooth. Job done.
Simply stir into cooked pasta for an easy peasy supper.
Freeze the remainder of the sauce in individual portions. You should get around 12 portions out of it.
As this pasta sauce is an ideal way to introduce your children to vegetables and entice them to eat a few they might not be so keen on, I’m entering it into this month’s Family Foodies challenge, where the theme is ‘Hidden Goodies’.
Back in March, along with many other food bloggers, I entered my recipe for Roast Vegetable Lasagne into the Save the Children Recipe Challenge organised by Ruth Clemens at The Pink Whisk.
The aim of the challenge was to raise awareness of Save the Children’s Race Against Hunger campaign. It is a shocking fact that we live in a world with enough food for everyone, yet hunger is still able to kill 7,000 children every day. Save the Children is calling on governments to put an end to this hidden hunger.
All the recipes gathered have been collated and published in a beautiful Save the Children Recipe Challenge e-book, which is available online for an optional donation of £2 to raise awareness and funds for the campaign. I am absolutely thrilled to have a recipe included in this wonderful collection.
Please, please, please visit the Save the Children website to download a copy, and make a small donation if you can. The book features mouthwatering mains, such as Easy Braised Lamb Shank, Guacamole Bean Salad and Easy Baked Chicken Biryani, plus lots of tempting cakes and puds like Raspberry and Almond Mini Macaroons and Fresh Orange Cake with Citrus Buttercream.
Over the next two years Save the Children aim to help at least two million children get the kind of healthy food they need to grow up strong and healthy. The kind of food we’d all expect for our own kids.
persuade governments to invest in getting help to the children and families who need it
encourage companies to make sure millions more children get food fortified with the right vitamins – just like our breakfast cereals
give poor mothers vouchers or money so they can buy the food they need before things get desperate – a form of aid that stimulates local markets so they can keep on supplying local communities for the long term.
Together we can give children a life free from hunger.
Lasagne has always been one of my favourite foods. I loved it when my mother cooked it when I was little and I now love making it for my own children.
It’s not a quick dish to prepare though. In fact I used to think it was a bit of a faff. But these days, when I’m juggling work and family, it’s one of the meals I’ll make once the kids are tucked up in bed and I have the kitchen to myself, generally listening to Jo Whiley on Radio 2, all ready to eat the following evening. There’s nothing nicer than getting back from work and simply having to pop supper in the over and it’s all done.
We’re trying to eat less meat in our house. It’s partly to save money, partly for environmental reasons and partly to eat more healthily. And this is one of those vegetarian alternative meals where you really don’t miss the meat. It’s packed with big bold flavours and the aubergine and courgette give it lots of substance.
Because this meal is such a favourite with my clan, I’m submitting the recipe to The Pink Whisk Challenge, which is dedicated to raising awareness of Save the Children and the Hidden Hunger campaign.
Save the Children is asking everyone to Name a Day, a day when they will do just one thing to help save children’s lives. And they are asking David Cameron to do the same. It is a terrible fact that we live in a world with enough food for everyone, yet hunger is still able to kill 7,000 children every day. Can you help Save the Children put an end to this Hidden Hunger?
All the recipes gathered for the Pink Whisk Challenge will be collated and published in a Save the Children e-book to be sold to raise awareness and funds for the campaign. Do you have a family favourite to add? Please do. You have until 31 March 2012. Full details over at The Pink Whisk.
Roast vegetable lasagne
For the roast vegetables
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
3 courgettes, chopped diagonally into thick slices
2 aubergines, chopped into large chunks
1 red and 1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced
6 cloves of garlic, skins removed
handful of cherry tomatoes
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
For the cheese sauce
40g plain flour
100g Cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper
For the tomato sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 x 400g tins chopped plum tomatoes
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
250g lasagne sheets
Extra grated cheese for sprinkling on top
Preheat oven to 200°C/gas 6.
Begin by roasting your vegetables. Place them all in a large roasting tray along with the rosemary and garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper, pour over some olive oil and toss together to cover the vegetables well. Roast in the oven for around 40 minutes, turning the vegetables halfway through, until they are tender and beginning to brown.
While the vegetables are roasting prepare the two sauces.
The tomato sauce is very simple. Fry the onions in the olive oil until golden. Add the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar and stir together. Simmer gently for around 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Season to taste.
For the cheese sauce, place the butter, flour and milk in a saucepan. Whisk over a gentle heat until it has thickened. Then stir in grated cheese until it has melted into the sauce. Again, season to taste.
When the vegetables are roasted, place a layer of these in the bottom of a large ovenproof dish. (Mine isn’t particularly large so I use a medium sized one and a small one.) Make sure you pull out the thick rosemary stalks. Nobody likes chewing on twigs.
Pour some tomato sauce over the vegetables and then cover with a layer of lasagne sheets. Repeat this process until you have filled your dish, ending with a layer of vegetables and then sauce.
Now pour over the cheese sauce. I like to wiggle the dish from side to side a little to make sure the cheese sauce seeps down the sides and through all the cracks.
Finally scatter some grated Cheddar cheese over the top. Place in the oven for about 30 minutes until the cheese is browned and bubbly and a knife inserted goes easily through the pasta.
Perfect served with a salad and some homemade garlic bread.