Fennel and roast tomato Lasagne

One of my favourite vegetarian ingredients is Fennel. The aniseed flavour in Fennel becomes milder when it’s roasted, so I generally slow cook it in an oven before mixing with cream; this gives a lovely deep savoury flavour that can be used as the base for many dishes.
This recipe is one of my wife’s (ex-vegetarian) staple dishes when I’m away or working at the restaurant and it uses a fantastic vegetarian cheese.

(Serves 4)

800g Tomatoes on the vine
3 Fennel bulbs
100g Parmesan style cheese (we use Lyburn's 'Old Winchester' - www.lyburnfarm.co.uk)
Balsamic Vinegar
Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil
1 packet of good quality dry lasagne pasta
300ml Double cream
Salt & pepper to taste


  • Finely slice the fennel and place in an oven tray; drizzle with rapeseed oil and a pinch of salt & pepper

  • In a separate oven tray, place the tomatoes (still on the vine); drizzle with rapeseed oil and season with 2 dessert spoons of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt & pepper

  • Place both trays in the oven for 30 minutes at 180C

  • Take out the oven tray containing the fennel; add 300ml of Double cream, mix with the fennel, and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes

  • Take out the oven tray containing the tomatoes and place them in a bowl. Remove the vine and lightly crush the tomatoes with a fork

  • Take out the oven tray containing the fennel. Grate most of the cheese onto the fennel and stir (this should make a thick cheesy sauce with a custard-like consistency. Add more cream if it's too thick)

  • To assemble the Lasagne, start with a thin layer of tomatoes, then a layer of dry Lasagne pasta followed by a layer of fennel then another layer of dry Lasagne pasta. Continue with alternate layers of tomatos, dry pasta, fennel and dry pasta. The top layer should be fennel, onto which you can grate the remaining cheese

  • Cover with foil and place in an oven for 40 minutes at 160C (remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking)

  • Serve with a seasonal salad