I’m making Italian tonight

Mmmm…. lasagne and homemade garlic bread. I mean HOMEMADE, I am currently making the dough for the baguettes. Served with a Greek salad (don’t tell the Italians).

My son and his partner are coming for dinner. This calls for lush home cooked rich comfort food that (to be frank) he wouldn’t /couldn’t make himself.

This is how I make lasagne. I don’t use a recipe but freestyle it. So feel free to adapt to suit your taste. 

MEAT SAUCE:

500g lean mince

2 grated carrots

2 grated zucchini

1 finely (go FINE) diced onion (I use brown)

1 jar of passata tomato sauce (those tall jars) alternatively you can use 2 tins of diced tomatoes

2 teaspoons Italian herbs (or 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon basil and a pinch of thyme)

1 teaspoon of minced garlic (I prefer organic as garlic is one of the vegetables more prone to holding leached chemicals from pesticides) 

Fry the onion (NOT the garlic!) in a little olive oil (I use light flavoured) gently on a medium heat for around 5 minutes until it becomes translucent. Don’t rush this stage as burnt onion flavour makes the sauce a tad bitter.

Add the mince until browned, now add the herbs, garlic, carrots, zucchini, passata and herbs. Simmer on very low as long as possible up to 2 hrs. (But just use it as is if you’re time poor)… nobody will complain, after all YOU cooked them a meal…and it was lasagne! I prefer not to add salt as the cheese is quite salty. Pepper to your taste. 

NOTE: a good slurp of red wine is an excellent addition if you can spare some. (oh and some for the meat sauce too).

Now my “trick” is 2 cheese sauces.

CHEESE SAUCE #1:

1 500g cottage cheese

4 eggs

2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese (fresh is best but dried works)

1 teaspoon of oregano

 

CHEESE SAUCE #2:

This is the same one I mentioned recently. I am a lazy cook, I confess it.

6 tablespoons plain flour

6 tablespoons skim milk powder

3 cups boiling water

1/2 cup grated cheese (or more if you’re a greedy cheese lover like me) 

2 tablespoons butter or marg

generous pinch paprika

1/4 cup white wine (nice but optional)

 

Blend the flour and milk powder. Slowly add the boiling water stirring until thickening. Add butter then cheese. If you want you can microwave 2 minutes to thicken more. The sauce should be slightly thicker than custard. 

LASAGNE NOODLES:

I prefer wholewheat instant and when being very indulgent I will by fresh (one day I might even try making lasagne noodles! when Miss Bee isn’t 2 that is!)

Layering your lasagne. I do a light spray of canola. ALWAYS start with a tiny smear of the meat sauce as it seemed to stick less,  now add the noodles close together.

Try not to overlap them as they can make thick sections that are chunky and don’t cut well either. Next put 1/3 of the meat, then 1/3 of the egg based cheese sauce, 1/4 cheese sauce.

Repeat until the last layer then make noodles, meat, egg based cheese sauce. Finish with a layer of noodles then add the remaining 1/2 cheese sauce as the top layer.

Bake based on the instructions on your packet of noodles as for time needed. I generally bake in a moderately low oven at least 45-1hr. Turn the oven off and let it sit at least 20 minutes. This makes it sort of gel together. If you want really neat pieces then cook the day before or in the morning and reheat as it get more solid the longer it cools.


Greek salad tonight:

Mix together diced

  • Feta
  • tomatoes
  • cucumber
  • olives
  • avocado (don’t tell the Greeks)

 I’m having mine mostly naked with just a small splash of lemon juice and olive oil. 

Will that garlic bread work?  I hope so.  I bought fresh yeast today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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