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Friday, October 5, 2012

Store cupboard Lasagne

Sorry I havent been  updating my blog , am working on a long over due project and juggling mother hood with a very fussy 1 year old.  My eldest is busy getting ready for school concert which means I am running back and forth between school and home.

You are probably wondering , what on earth I put in this lasagne. Well since we are all pressed for time and sometimes dont have time to prepare elaborate meals like lasagne , I came up with this recipe.
It  was quite by accident really.  I decided to make lasagne using dried pasta instead of making fresh from scratch. I didnt have any ground meat so threw in a can of corned beef. I dont often use corned beef but after coming back to maldives its been a standby in my store cupboard. I found out that if you scrape the thick oily coat on the outside of that meat , it tastes less salty and  once you add some herbs and spices , the strong taste goes off. 

This is a good make ahead recipe, you can make it a few hours ahead, assemble it and leave in the fridge , pop in the oven an hour before serving. I found out that when you leave it to soak up for a while the noodles take less time to cook and the top doesnt end up getting under cooked.

Recipe : Storecupboard Lasagne

For 4  servings
Meat sauce :
olive oil
1 can corned beef
1 small onion
1/2 a large carrot
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp dried mixed herbs ( use fresh if you have any in the fridge)
1 1/2 cups tomato pasta sauce ( I used strombolli's  tomato  pasta sauce)
1 cup water

White sauce
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 handful grated chedder cheese ( use a mild one if possible)
2 cups milk

About 8 dried Lasagne sheets
some extra chedder , and parmesan cheese grated.

Make the meat sauce :

1. Place onion, carrot  and garlic ( if you have celery lying around  pop that in as well) into a food processor and chop it up. Or you can  finely chop them all by hand if you dont have food processor.

2. Heat some olive oil in a large deep frying pan or saucepan , add the the chopped up  vegetables and saute' till they are soft.

3. Open the can of  corned beef and clean the salty outer layer on it and crumble into a bowl and pop this into the  softened vegetables.

4. Stir the contents in the pan and stir in  ground pepper, mixed herbs ground fennel, and pasta sauce and water. Bring to a boil , then simmer covered  till the sauce is reduced. If you have any fresh parsley or basil leaves, chop them up and add  once the sauce is reduced.  The sauce should be thick and not completely dry. Taste and add a little sauce if needed, as the corned beef is quite salty. Set a side.

To make the white sauce:

5. Take a small saucepan and melt the butter over a low heat,  once the butter melts , switch off heat and stir in flour.

6. Whisk the flour in and place over a gentle heat, while whisking continously stir in  milk . Cook over medium heat, stirring continously till the sauce thickens. Stir in a big handful of chedder cheese stir and cook 1 minute and then switch off.

7. To assemble the lasagne,   Take a square oven dish . Spoon a thin layer of meat sauce, enough to  cover the bottom. Layer some  lasagne sheets, breaking them up to fit in, if necessary. Then a layer of  cheese sauce. If you have mozzarella cheese add a few slices of  it on top of the  cheese sauce, then some meat sauce, more lasagne  sheets, white sauce , repeat like this once finishing off with white sauce.  Sprinkle with extra grated chedder and parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and pop in the fridge for an hour or two .

8. Preheat  oven  to Gas mark 4,  pop the prepared lasagne dish with the foil on into the oven and bake for 30 - 45 minutes. Remove foil, check if the top layer noodles are cooked through , then remove the foil  and cook for a further 10 minutes, Remove from the oven , cool  for 10 minutes  then serve with a nice green salad.

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