Last night I made a pretty damned good lasagne, and I thought I’d share with you the recipe because I’m just nice like that.
It’s simple, it’s delicious, and you can easily feed around four people with it (five if you’re being generous).
Also, if you don’t have all of the ingredients to hand, it’s nice and easy to swap things in and out with whatever you choose.
PREP TIME: 15 mins. COOKING TIME: 1.5 hrs. FEEDS: 4 – 5
(Photo Credit http://centercutcook.com/)
What You’ll Need
- 1 Kitchen (an oven would be nice)
- Assorted Utensils (Whatever’s handy. Don’t be too fussy)
- 2 Cans Diced Tomatoes
- Some Pasata
- 2 Medium Brown Onions
- A Bit Of Garlic
- 1 Vague Measurement of Olive Oil
- Some Butters
- 1 Zucchini
- 1 Carrot
- Various Cheeses
- Like, A Ton Of Mushrooms
- Milk (I use lactose free, because my wife is intolerant, but it doesn’t really matter)
- Plain Flour
- Salt, Pepper, Sugar (stuff that’s sitting on your bench and goes in everything)
- A Drop Of Vinegar
- Booze (red wine if you actually want it in the sauce, but if you just like to get drunk while cooking get whatever works for you)
- Herbs and shit.
- Some nutmeg (ground)
- Lasagne sheets (…duh)
- Dice or slice the shit out of those onions, or if you can’t make up your mind dice one and slice the other – it makes no difference. (PRO-TIP: If you wipe your knife with butter or olive oil before getting into the slicing and dicing you’ll avoid a whole lot of onion tears)
- Roughly chop as much garlic as you want in the sauce. I use between four and seven cloves because I like garlic, but you can always use more or less.
- Roughly cube that carrot and zucchini.
- Mangle those mushrooms with your knife. They don’t have to look pretty, they’re going in the sauce.
- Now you’re done prepping. It’s time to make some food.
- Turn on your stove and put a big-ass pot right on top of the hot bit. Then, when it heats up, splash some olive oil around the bottom of it. When that gets hot crack a ton of pepper into the scolding oil and just a little bit of salt. Then take a moment to inhale the delicious smell of frying freshly cracked pepper.
- Chuck the garlic and onions into the pot. Enjoy the new yet equally delicious scent and stir occasionally until it starts to brown up a little.
- Throw in the carrot. Let that all fry down for a bit, ’cause you don’t want your carrots too crunchy at the end.
- Are you’re carrots a little bit soft now? Good, it’s time to throw in the zucchini. Give that about a minute in with all the other veggies already in the pot and then dump in the mushrooms.
- Don’t stir the mushrooms too much to begin with. Leave them sitting where they fall for about a minute, this will help to make sure they maintain all their delicious moisture and don’t dry out too much.
- Add a bit of water – just enough to cover all stuff in the pot – and let that simmer for a little while. It’s gonna smell awesome and you’re gonna get to see that source becoming nice and dark and rich.
- After that’s simmered from about five minutes toss in a dash of red wine if you’ve got it. If not, don’t bother.
- Open the cans of tomatoes and throw their contents into the mix. Do not try doing this before you open then cans – IT WILL NOT WORK!
- Mix it around a bit with a spoon, turn down the heat to a more reasonable temperature, then leave that sitting there while you have a cigarette or watch TV or something.
- Come back ten minutes later and taste the sauce and say “mmm, that’s good.” Then decide that it’s not quite ready, and put in a teaspoon of sugar and a dash of vinegar (I use apple cider, but anything works).
- Mix, inhale, and throw in a handful of mixed Italian herbs (I don’t know what’s in it, but it tastes delicious and comes premixed from the store).
- You’re pretty much done with this sauce now. Just take it off the heat, chop some fresh parsley and basil (or don’t, I just happen to have some growing on my deck) and throw that greenery into the sauce. Mix it all around and feel proud about your good work.
- Add some pasata to pad it out if a) there’s not quite enough sauce or b) it needs to thicken up a bit. I don’t know why, but the pasata makes it just that little bit thicker.
- You’re done. Take a break, it’ll still be there when you come back, but it is nice to chill for a bit before you get to work making the bechamel sauce.
Cheesy Bechamel Sauce
- Get a different pot to the one that you used to make the red sauce, ’cause that one still has sauce in it. Put this new, clean pot over the stove on a low heat. No, seriously make sure this is a low heat – too hot and you are definitely gonna burn some shit.
- Put a drop of olive oil in the bottom of the pot, wait for it to heat up and then throw in a lot of butter. The olive oil isn’t strictly necessary, but I find that it helps to keep the butter from burning.
- Let the butter melt and keep stirring it with a wooden spoon. I guess it doesn’t have to be made of wood, but mine is.
- Once the butter is melted add a bit of flour to the golden liquid. Mix it all around and make sure it doesn’t clump together.
- Keep on adding little bits of flour until the thing turns into a golden brown paste of sorts. It doesn’t need to be too thick, but you want it to be a little viscous.
- Now add some milk. Just a little bit at first, and keep on stirring, then add a little bit more when your first bit of milk starts to cook and thicken up.
- Keep on adding milk and stirring until it looks like you’ve got enough sauce to put in your lasagne. Nothing worse then having to skimp on bechamel because you were an idiot earlier on and didn’t make enough.
- At some point during this process your gonna want to add some cheese to the mix. I use about two handfuls of grated mozzarella (and I mean proper handfulls) and a load of parmesan (I don’t know how much exactly, but you’ll know if it needs more). Mix this all through and make sure it melts.
- Drop in a little bit of nutmeg because you’re awesome and want to look gourmet.
- Keep on mixing.
- Is it thick? Does it look like a cheesy bechamel sauce? If yes, then you are done!
Actually Making The Lasagne
- Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees (Celsius) on the fan-forced setting.
- Get whatever dish you wanna put your lasagne in.
- Dump in some red sauce, then spread it around and make it a little flat.
- Put some bechamel on top of the red sauce so it looks like a double-decker of deliciousness.
- Lay some lasagne sheets on top of this awesome looking layer-cake, and keep on repeating until you a) run out of lasagne sheets, or b) run out of room in your dish to keep on adding more layers.
- Now, at the top of this still uncooked construction of baked pasta glory add another layer of your awesome cheesy bechamel sauce.
- Think you’re done right? Well, you’re not. There’s nowhere near enough cheese on this bad boy.
- Spread out some of that grate mozzarella from earlier all over this final layer of bechamel sauce, and then slice out some thin slices of cheddar and put them on top of the mozzarella, and then sprinkle over a whole bunch of grated or shaved parmesan over the top of that.
- Add more cheese if that’s not enough for you.
- Sprinkle on a bit of nutmeg over the top of it all, because that stuff crisps up in the over and makes you weep for joy.
- Admire your work and think about how great you are at cooking.
- Put that beast of a meal into the over and leave it there for thirty-five minutes. Watch TV or read a book or something while you wait.
- DING! Thirty-five minutes is up, so turn the damned oven off! But, leave the lasagne in there for another fifteen. This just lets it cool down and little bit and helps it hold its shape when you shove knives into it.
- After the fifteen minutes take the lasagne tray out of the oven(do not try to cut it into portions while it’s still in the over, this may result in injury) and put it on the bench.
- Cut yourself the biggest slice, put it on your favourite plate, then let all your house-mates know that you have just made them lasagne.
- Sit back, relax, and eat that bad-boy up. Be careful though, it’s probably pretty hot and it’s gonna burn the roof of your mouth. So make sure you have a cold beer or something handy when that happens.
- You’ve now eaten the lasagne and I have no instructions for the rest of your life.
And that, friends, is how you make my awesome vegetarian lasagne.
Hope you enjoy!
OVERALL RATING FOR MY COOKING ABILITIES: 5 Om Nom Noms out of 5
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