About this recipe:Tender poached vegetables are served in a herb-packed béchamel sauce and given a crunchy cheese topping. Try serving with tagliatelle or new potatoes.
750 g (1 lb 10 oz) mixture of young and baby vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, fennel, leeks, mushrooms, onions, patty pan squash or courgettes, and red or yellow peppers
2 tablespoons dry vermouth
1 bay leaf
2-3 fresh parsley stalks
1 sprig fresh thyme
Salt and black pepper
25 g (1 oz) Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons wholemeal breadcrumbs
For the béchamel sauce
50 g (1¾ oz) 70 per cent fat spread
3 tablespoons plain white flour
150 ml (5 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk
3 tablespoons half-fat crème fraîche
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley or marjoram
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Method Prep:15min › Cook:35min › Ready in:50min
Prepare your chosen vegetables: trim broccoli or cauliflower into small florets; top and tail carrots; top, tail and chop fennel finely; slice leeks thickly; slice mushrooms; cut onions into quarters; halve patty pan squash or top and tail baby courgettes; and cut peppers into squares.
Put 600 ml (1 pint) of water into a large saucepan and add the vermouth, bay leaf, parsley stalks, thyme, salt and pepper, then bring to the boil. Add the vegetables, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a shallow 1.5 litre (2 pint 15 fl oz) flameproof dish. Set aside and keep warm.
Discard the herbs and return the vegetable stock to a fast boil. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until it is reduced by half. Heat the grill to a medium heat.
To make the sauce, melt the fat spread in a large saucepan and whisk in the flour. Cook for 1-2 seconds, then gradually strain in the stock, add the milk and whisk. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the crème fraîche and chopped herb and season to taste.
Pour the sauce over the vegetables, sprinkle the cheese and breadcrumbs over the top, and place under the grill for 2-3 minutes until the topping is lightly browned, then serve.
Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.
This was really yummy. Often the veg can become soggy when putting a bake in the oven with the sauce, but grilling it keeps the dish colourful, crunchy and tasty. Will definitely make this again. - 15 Sep 2013