Thursday, 5 May 2011

Lonely lasagne

My husband was out this evening, hence the title! The nice thing is that lasagne makes a great lunch as well, so I can just box it up for him to take to work tomorrow.

You can get six weekday portions, or four giant sunday-lunch portions, out of this lasagne.

Roast veg go with anything!
Lasagne is easy to make, all it needs is a bechamel sauce, a tomato sauce and some kind of themed filling. I had an aubergine, pepper, leeks, half a purple onion and tons of courgettes in the fridge so I roasted them up for about 30-40 minutes @ 180°C with olive oil, salt and pepper.

The bechamel is pretty simple although if you haven't done one before it can seem a bit complicated; do try it though, once you've done it a couple of times it becomes familiar. 

If you don't have all the extra stuff
just make a basic white sauce
following the steps below with plain milk.
[Optional] Stick a pint of milk in a pan with a bay leaf, a few whole peppercorns, a bit of onion (I kept back some of the purple onion for this), some parsley stalks and a peice of blade mace or some grated nutmeg.
Let it heat up slowly on a low heat until it's just starting to bubble up - don't let it boil though! Just turn the heat off and leave it to infuse as it goes cool. At this point it already smells wonderful.

Melt 50g butter in a saucepan and mix 50g flour into it, stirring all the time to stop it clumping or burning. Let it cook for a little bit or the sauce will taste of raw flour, it'll start to go a bit goldy and that's when you start adding in the (strained) milk, little by little. Don't rush this or it'll go lumpy, just keep on stirring. Once all the milk is in, season the sauce and let it cook a while longer until it's thickened up. 

The tomato sauce is possibly the simplest thing ever. Heat up a pan with some oil and throw a couple of cloves of squished garlic in. Add a tin of tomatoes, salt, pepper, tomato puree and bring to a simmer. Add a shot of vodka (trust me) and some fresh basil and take off the heat. 

If you can't be bothered to do this bit, or don't have the time, it's always handy to have a jar of pre-made sauce in the cupboard. My favourite for this kind of thing is Seeds of Change Tomato & Basil sauce.

Mix the vegetables (or whatever other filling you've prepared) in with the tomato sauce. Layer the lasagne in a dish, grate a bunch of parmesan over the top (or whatever cheese you have to hand) then stuff it in the oven for about half an hour at 180°C. Done! 

Make the bottom layer a veg & tomato one, or you might end up with a crunchy base

I also love lasagne made with ricotta, mint and green vegetables like peas, courgettes and spinach. You omit the tomato sauce for that one though, just mix some milk into the ricotta to make it go further.

I get the majority of my veg from Abel & Cole, who deliver a box of goodies to my door every Friday. They also deliver my my milk from Berkeley Farm dairy in Wiltshire.
I've also recently signed up for a mid-week delivery from the local milkman. I get a pint of organic British milk every Wednesday. They state that the product is red tractor assured, although they don't share which specific dairies they get their milk from.

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