Lasagna With Roasted Beets and Herb Béchamel

READY IN: 2hrs 10mins




  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Cut the greens away from the beets, leaving about 1/4 inch of stems.
  • Scrub the beets and place in a baking dish or lidded ovenproof casserole. Add 1/4 inch water to the dish. Cover tightly. Place in the oven and roast 40 to 45 minutes, until the beets are easily penetrated with the tip of a knife.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the dish.
  • Cut away the ends and slip off the skins.
  • Slice crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, make the béchamel. Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the shallot or onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and bubbling, but not browned. It should have the texture of wet sand.
  • Whisk in the milk all at once and bring to a simmer, whisking all the while, until the mixture begins to thicken.
  • Turn the heat to very low and simmer, stirring often with a whisk and scraping the bottom and edges of the pan with a rubber spatula, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce is thick and has lost its raw flour taste.
  • Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  • Strain while hot into a large measuring cup or a medium bowl and stir in the chopped herbs and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Oil a rectangular baking dish.
  • Spread a spoonful of béchamel over the bottom.
  • Top with a layer of lasagna noodles. Spoon a thin layer of the béchamel over the noodles. Top with a layer of beets. Dot with half of the ricotta and sprinkle with Parmesan.
  • Repeat the layers, ending with a layer of lasagna noodles topped with béchamel and Parmesan.
  • Make sure the noodles are well coated with béchamel so they will be sure to soften during baking.
  • Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and place in the oven. Bake 40 minutes, until the noodles are tender and the mixture is bubbling.
  • Uncover and, if you wish, bake another 5 to 10 minutes, until the top begins to brown.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Advance preparation: You can assemble this up to a day ahead and refrigerate, or freeze for a month. The lasagna can be baked several hours ahead and reheated in a medium oven.