A winter treat

This is comfort eating at its healthiest, but I challenge you not to want second helpings. It’s a vegetarian take on lasagne, layers of veggies and tomato sauce, but without pasta. Though if you are feeding a hungry horde it would work with a couple of layers of pasta sheets. Unlike lasagne, you don’t have to make a cheese sauce; instead there is a creamy sauce whizzed up in the blender. dishing upThe recipe is by Anna Jones, a chef who first worked at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant. This background explains why her recipes all have an Italian-feel.

Serves 6
For the bake:-
4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1cm rounds
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
rosemary leaves, picked from a couple of sprigs
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 red onions, peeled and roughly sliced
a small bunch of fresh thyme
400g spinach, washed
200g ricotta
100g Parmesan
For the creamy sauce:-
1 x 400g tin butter beans
grated zest and juice of a lemon
3 tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 240° C/ fan 220° C/ gas 9. parmesan, gratingLightly grease two baking trays. Arrange the sweet potato discs in one layer on the trays, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, until just cooked and browning around the edges. sweet potatoes - ready to go into the ovenWhile the potatoes are cooking, make the tomato sauce. Fry the sliced garlic in a little olive oil, over a medium heat, until it begins to brown around the edges. Add the rosemary, stir. Add the tinned tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and leave for 10 minutes, simmering lightly, until the sauce becomes thicker and sweeter. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside. tomato sauce in the panIn a separate frying pan, soften the onions in a little olive oil with the thyme, over a medium heat, until soft and sweet. This will take about 10 minutes. spinach, added to the onionsspinach, wiltedThen add the spinach, a little at a time, and let it wilt. sweet potatoes - just out of the ovenWhen the sweet potatoes are ready, take them out of the oven. Turn the oven down to 220° C/ fan 200° C/ gas 7.

Now make the butter bean sauce. Put the tinned butter beans and the liquid from the tin into a blender, add the lemon juice, zest, olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. butter bean sauce, in processorBlitz it so the sauce is smooth and loose enough to spread . If it is too thick, add a couple of tablespoons of water and blitz again.

Once the separate elements are ready, you can begin layering in a large ovenproof dish. Put a layer of tomato sauce on the bottom, then a layer of spinach, then dot over half the ricotta and a thick layer of grated parmesan. If you are using pasta, add a layer of lasagne sheets here. Next, add a layer of sweet potatoes, then some of the butter bean sauce. Keep layering, finishing with a layer of butter bean sauce. Grate Parmesan over the top, plus a drizzle of olive oil and a few more thyme leaves. ready to go into ovenBake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown on top. platefulDon’t worry if you cook too many sweet potatoes. We did, so the leftovers were thrown into a potato mash mixture with cooked sprouts and fried onions, and made into potato cakes. We eat these for breakfast with a fried egg on top.

5 to remember
una horda hambrienta – a hungry horde
las alubias grande – the butter beans
los elementos separados – the separate elements
una capa – a layer
no se preocupe – don’t worry

Still hungry? Try these puddings:-
Not just your everyday pudding… pain au chocolat bread-and-butter pudding
Rice pudding with almonds
The best-ever plum clafoutis?

a modern way to eat by anna jones 8-6-15

‘A Modern Way to Eat’ by Anna Jones [UK: Fourth Estate]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A winter treat… sweet potato lasagne #recipe by Anna Jones @we_are_food via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Hb

27 thoughts on “A winter treat

  1. Alastair Savage

    Yum! I’m going to make this. Just to check though, I agree with Rough Seas that I don’t think ‘butter beans’ are ‘judias’ What should I look for in my local Spanish supermarket? I’m beginning to suspect that you may have grown your own beans in your lovely garden.


    1. sandradan1 Post author

      I must have had brain freeze the day I wrote this… but pleased to see everyone is reading and checking! In Mercadona, the butter bean jars are with the chick pea jars. 🙂 SD


      1. Alastair Savage

        I just have to endure having the Mercadona jingle in my head for the rest of the day. That is one earworm that it’s impossible to escape. “Mercadona … Mercadona…”


    2. roughseasinthemed

      If you have a pressure cooker then you can buy the dried ones. Merca is usually the best source for butter beans. Most supers have jars though, eg Supersol which has the basics.
      Alubia: haricot beans
      Alubia grande: butter beans
      Garbanzos: chick peas
      Can’t remember about pintos. Maybe: pintos!
      I think Merca sells alubia roja, (red kidney beans) but as they aren’t much used in Spain, they aren’t as fresh as the other types.


    1. roughseasinthemed

      Parmesan isn’t vegetarian because it contains animal rennet. Animal rennet is usually from cow gut, can be sheep sometimes. Anyways, it comes from killing animals. Parmesan, to get its denomination of origin (or whatever it’s called), needs to be made with animal rennet.

      Is that what you were asking? Basically, not all cheese is sutiable for vegetarians. Parmesan, Gran Padano, among them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. roughseasinthemed

        It’s not well-known among all vegetarians, let alone non-vegetarians! One reason why I prefer vegan food when not at home. If you look at menus, the vegetarian options are often cheese-based, and the Parmesan (gorgonzola, gran padano) ones are marked as V. Which doesn’t inspire confidence in the rest of the cheese being free of animal rennet. I’ve written to a few restaurants about their misleading ads and had one reply only! It’s a bit like seeing a fish/shellfish meal being described as vegetarian. I like lost causes, me.


    2. sandradan1 Post author

      As Rough Seas said. Actually I think I confused things because we often use Manchego in place of Parmesan, as we always have that in the fridge. But if you are a strict veggie, then you must read the small print on cheese packets. 🙂 SD


  2. Pingback: Sticky tomato & onion bake | Notes on a Spanish Valley

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