Just like a lasagna……but with fennel.
I wanted to have a go at making a vegan lasagna. This dish contains no animal products whatsoever and uses the outer leaves of fennel, together with a 100% vegetable béchamel (white sauce) made with extra virgin olive oil, rice milk and flour.
The outer leaves and green tufts of 3/4 whole fennel
4 tablespoons of delicate extra virgin olive oil (e.g. from Liguria or the Garda lake region)
3 tablespoons of flour
1/2 litre of rice milk
Salt and pepper
Put the flour in a pot on low heat. Add the oil, a little at a time and mix well into a paste for about 5 minutes. Don’t stop stirring and slowly, little by little, add the rice milk. Let it cook on a low heat for about 3 minutes stirring the hole time to avoid lumps. Remove from heat and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. In the meantime, steam cook the fennel. Leave the outer leaves whole, but finely chop the green stalks. Oil a medium-sized pie dish, or use 4 individual baking tins. Begin with a layer of fennel leaves and thereafter alternate with layers of béchamel and fennel leaves. Bake in a 180° C oven for approx. 20 minutes and serve.
Non-vegetarians can add slices of cooked ham, alternating the layers with the fennel and the béchamel.