I hesitate to call this a “Lasagna” as that word actually refers to the type of past used in a layered Italian dish that we are all deliciously familiar with. And now its seems that everything that has more than two layers is some type of “Lasagna”. Check out my cheeseburger; bun, sauce, meat, cheese, tomato, sauce, bun….must be a lasagna. Black forest cake; cake, cherries, cream, cake, cherries, cream…lasagna! Don’t get me started on an English Trifle!
Regardless of what you call it, this sweet, rich beauty is sure to please. As a main or a side, it pairs well with just about any grilled meat or vegetables. You can make it dairy free and just tone down the bacon and cheese to make it reduced calorie and/or vegetarian, as well as Gluten Free!
This recipe is all about even flavour in its layers, just like Ogres! Its important to olive oil the bottom of your dish before you begin with your ogres….I mean layers!
Fresh local tomatoes will start this dish off right and give that bit of tang, which will bring the other flavours together.
You’ll be surprised at the difference one layer of spinach and one layer of tomatoes make! Not only do they bring an earthy freshness to the dish, but also add some vitamins and minerals, so you don’t have to survive on sweet potatoes alone 😉
- 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, sliced 1/4″ thick (rounds)
- 1/2 lb bacon
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp bacon fat
- 5 tbsp All Purpose flour – (can sub gluten free flour blend)
- 2 and 1/4 cups milk (1%,2% or almond milk)
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 2 fist fulls of spinach (local is always better, if you can get it)
- 3 medium ripe tomatoes, sliced in rounds
- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (Asiago, parmigiano reggiano)
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 2.5 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp white pepper (or to taste)
In a medium frying pan, cook bacon until crisp, remove from pan and place on paper towels to remove excess fat. Reserve 2 tbsp of the bacon fat and discard the rest.
In the same pan add the bacon fat, butter and half of the garlic. Over medium heat saute garlic for 2 minutes.
Slowly add the flour while continually stirring (or whisking) trying to keep the mixture (roux) as smooth as possible, it will become a bit of a ‘lumpy paste’.
Add milk about a half a cup at a time, whisking to blend with the roux each time, until all of the milk is blended in and the sauce is smooth.
Stir in the salt, pepper and remaining garlic and simmer 1 minutes, then remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
Olive oil brush a 9×11 baking dish. Place one layer of sweet potatoes on the bottom.
Spread half of the sauce (bechamel) in an even layer over the potatoes. Place the layer of tomatoes.
Evenly place the layer of spinach on the tomatoes and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top.
Arrange another layer of sweet potatoes on top of the Parmesan, and then evenly spread the remaining sauce.
Crumble the bacon across the top and sprinkle the mozzarella cheese all over.
Use cooking spray (or brush olive oil) on a piece of foil, cover and bake for 45 minutes, remove foil and continue to bake for another 30 minutes.
TIP: This dish serves a bit ‘saucy’, so if you want it to set up and slice more like a lasagna, it will need to be cooled to room temperature. To make this dish gluten Free, all you need do is substitute the AP flour for Gluten Free flour! To make Vegetarian, omit the bacon and replace the bacon fat with the same amount of butter.
Recipe by Adam Heard