Semi-exciting news on the lentil diversity front! When I went to the co-op to pick up more lentils, (I was running low on green) I found……French green lentils! Also known as Puy lentils, they are a little smaller than traditional green lentils, but look way cooler. They are also supposed to have a richer flavor. Technically, these are not Puy lentils as they were grown in Canada and not one of the few regions in France that reserve the Puy lentil title according to the
Serves 6 to 8 people
1 12oz. box lasagna noodles
7 oz. (200g) cheese, grated (I used raw sharp chedder)
3 oz. (80g) AP flour
3 cups whole milk
1 oz. (2 Tbsp.) butter
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
2 bay leaves
7 oz. (200g) green lentils
1 29 oz. can diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted for a little extra flavor)
1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil
1 Anaheim pepper (though any mildly spicy, green pepper will do)
1 tsp each dried basil and oregano
Salt and black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Rinse the lentils and cook in two cups of water for 30 minutes. Finely chop onions and soften on in a large skillet in oil with a bay leaf on medium heat for ten minutes. Add the chopped pepper and cook for a further five minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, cooked lentils, basil, oregano, and season with black pepper. Mix well and simmer gently for another five to ten minutes, stirring regularly.
Beat the flour in a small amount of the milk to a smooth, runny, paste in a small bowl. Warm the rest of the milk a little in a saucepan with the remaining bay leaf. Pour some of this warm, but not boiling, milk into the cold milk/flour mix, beating vigorously with a fork. (This is called tempering, in case you wanted to know.) Pour the warm flour/milk mix back into the saucepan containing the remaining warm milk, whisking constantly. Add the butter and bring slowly to a boil, again whisking. Stir the simmering mix for a few minutes, and take off the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste, the nutmeg, and the grated cheese, and stir well until the cheese melts.
Butter an oven-proof dish. (I used a large Pyrex dish. I think it is around 17.5″ x 11″ x 2-3″, but anything around that should do.) Spoon a shallow layer of lentil sauce across the bottom. Next, add a single layer of lasagna, covering the sauce. Then, add a layer of cheese sauce followed by another layer of lasagna. Repeat lentil, lasagna, cheese, lasagna until all but the cheese sauce is gone, then finish with the remaining cheese. Finally, cover with grated Parmesan cheese and bake in a 350F oven for 45 minute. Allow to rest at least five minutes before serving. Enjoy!