Lasagne – loaded with lusciousness!!

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This is my ‘queen’ of lasagnes! It is loaded with luscious fresh ingredients and it’s gluttonously good. It is rich, filling and wholesome and a great dish for those colder evenings; for ravenous teenagers returning home after school or something satisfying to look forward to after a long day at work, as it can be prepared in advance and kept in the fridge.  I like to serve it with either a green salad or garden peas. Either way, it is always a welcome meal in our house. Alas, you won’t lose weight eating it, but sometimes – so what! It freezes really well, so I usually make up a large tray, cut it into portion sizes and freeze it for lazy days or when I don’t have time to prepare a meal from scratch. It is also much more healthy than buying pre-made lasagnes which are often loaded with chemicals and  preservatives. I can guarantee it will definitely be more tasty!

This is my quick ‘how to make’ in photos, followed by the recipe!

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Slice the aubergines and salt to drain the bitter juices.

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Pan fry the aubergines.

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Chop and pan-fry the ‘rainbow’ vegetables.

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Add the tomatoes and liquid ingredients.

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Cover with béchamel sauce and grated cheese. Bake!

This lasagne can also be made leaving out the meat. It contains so many vegetables and more can be added, such as spinach and courgettes. The variations are endless! With fresh sheets of pasta so easily available to buy in the supermarkets and given it can be made for the freezer, why buy a factory made version? Give it a go – it’s always fun to cook!

 

 

 

Lasagne!

Prep Time: 1 Hour Cooking Time: 35 Mins Total Time: 1 Hour 35 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil + additional for frying the aubergine slices.
  • 2 large aubergine, sliced
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 or 4 leeks, cut into 1cm slices
  • 2 sweet red peppers, chopped
  • 4 large tomatoes chopped, or a tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • A squeeze of tomato paste
  • 1kg of minced meat ( I use half beef and half pork)
  • a tablespoon of dried oregano
  • 4 sheets of fresh lasagne
  • 150g grated cheese
  • FOR THE BECHAMEL SAUCE: 60/70g of butter,1/3 cup plain flour, 4 1/2 cups of milk, 75g of parmesan cheese, finely grated, pinch of salt, pinch of nutmeg.

Directions:

  1. Salt the sliced aubergines and leave to sweat in a colander. This gets rid of the sour juices.
  2. Wash and dry off the aubergines.
  3. In a saucepan with olive oil, pan fry the aubergines, then set aside on kitchen towel to soak up the excess oil.
  4. In a large pan, add the olive oil, onions, garlic, leeks, peppers, tomatoes, celery.
  5. Add salt and pepper and fry gently for 10 minutes. Add the wine. Then, add the tomato paste and oregano. Simmer.
  6. Add the meat, and mix to combine all the ingredients – making sure the meats cook through.
  7. If the mixture has too much liquid, make up a paste of cornflour and water (as directed on the cornflour packet) to thicken.
  8. Set aside.
  9. Make the béchamel sauce: Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the flour. Keep stirring for 1 to 2 minutes until bubbling. Remove from the heat. Slowly add the milk, stirring until mixture is smooth  and then then return to the heat . Cook on for about 10 minutes, keeping the sauce lump free. Take off the heat and add the parmesan, salt and nutmeg.
  10. In a large oven dish, spoon in a layer of the meat mixture and dot over some of the aubergine slices. Add a layer of pasta, another layer of the meat mixture, a few aubergines, another layer of pasta, a layer of meat and then the last aubergines. Pour over the béchamel sauce. 
  11. Sprinkle the top with grated cheese and a sprinkle of dried oregano.
  12. Bake in the oven at 180/190 degrees centigrade for 35 minutes.

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