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Posts Tagged ‘Lasagne’

Courgette lasagne

It’s the season where vegetables seem to come in waves of excess. Here’s a nice weekday lasagne for any of you that are still harvesting courgettes.  Our friend Nicola also dropped by with some home-grown salad ingredients including these pretty nasturtiums.

Wine Suggestion: We think fresh, crisp whites work with courgettes really well and when combined with pasta and cheese naturally lean towards young Semillon, Chenin Blanc or Chablis. To mix it up a bit, however, we tried the Villa Sparina Gavi di Gavi from Piedmont in Italy, another good option.

Courgette Lasagne – serves 6

  • 8 plum tomatoes, halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, lightly bashed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • ½ tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 2 leeks, sliced into rings
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 500g courgettes, grated
  • 10 lasagne sheets
  • 250g tub of ricotta
  • 125g mozzarella, torn
  • 50g Parmesan, grated

Heat the oven to 200C/180 fan/gas 6.

Put the halved tomatoes onto a baking tray with the garlic, oil, rosemary and season well. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until soft, then discard the rosemary and remove the skin from the garlic. Put the tomatoes and garlic in a blender and blitz a few times to make a chunky sauce.

Meanwhile, put the leeks in a pan over a low heat, add the butter, season and cook for about 10 minutes or until soft. Add the spinach and grated courgettes, and continue to cook for another couple of minutes to wilt and soften. Set aside.

Layer the ingredients in a large ovenproof dish starting with a layer of tomato sauce, then some pasta, followed by ricotta and vegetables. Repeat until all the ingredients are used, finishing with a vegetable layer. Scatter over the mozzarella and Parmesan, then bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.

(Original recipe by John Torode in BBC Good Food Magazine, August 2016.)

 

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Pesto Lasagne

A really quick and easy lasagne full of Spring flavours. You don’t have to buy fresh pesto from the fridge as this tends to be more oily and makes this dish very rich; we successfully used a jar from a shelf instead.

Wine suggestion: A grassy European styled Sauvignon Blanc which tends to have a longer, if cooler, growing season is a good match. Avoid the big flavoured Sauvignon’s with the kiwi / tinned asparagus flavours that you might typically find from NZ and Chile as these flavours clash a bit. Exceptions to this always exist like the Dog Point Marlborough Sauvignon, but a good Touraine or Sancerre would be our match.

Pesto Lasagne – serves 4 to 6

  • 190g jar of pesto
  • 500g tub mascarpone
  • 200g bag spinach, roughly chopped
  • 250g frozen peas
  • small pack of basil
  • small pack of mint
  • 12 fresh lasagne sheets
  • 85g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 50g pine nuts
  • Green salad & garlic bread to serve

Heat the oven to 180C/160 fan/gas 4.

Put the pesto, half the mascarpone and 250ml vegetable stock in a saucepan. Heat, stirring, until smooth and bubbling. Add the spinach and peas and cook for another few minutes until the spinach has wilted and the peas have defrosted. Add the herbs and season but go easy with the salt.

Put a third of this pesto mixture into the base of a baking dish (approx. 18 x 25cm). Top with 4 lasagne sheets, then repeat with 2 more layers of sauce and lasagne sheets, finishing with a layer of pasta. Mix some milk into the remaining mascarpone to make a sauce consistency, season then pour over the top of the dish. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and pine nuts, then bake for 35-40 minutes or until brown on the top and bubbling. Scatter over a few basil leaves before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, February 2014.)

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Roast pumpkin and spinach lasagne

Making lasagne is a bit of a labour of love but if you take it in stages it can be assembled in advance and baked when you need it. Always worth the effort in our opinion. This veggie version is particularly good.

Wine Suggestion: we found the Rustenberg Chardonnay from Stellenbosch really matched this dish with it’s masterful balance of oak, fruit and freshness. This is one of South Africa’s classics and one of the best value Chardonnay’s we know. It is picked, crushed and gently settled before fermenting by itself (wild yeasts) and after gentle care in oak barrels on fine lees it is bottled. Only at this stage do they add a touch of sulphur to keep it stable in the bottle. A natural wine without the faults of other proponents of this term.

Roast Squash & Spinach Lasagne – serves 6

  • 750g butternut squash
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g spinach, washed
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • whole nutmeg
  • 6 fresh lasagne sheets
  • 100g Parmesan, grated

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 400g tin cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tsp light muscovado sugar

FOR THE BECHAMEL SAUCE:

  • 500ml full-fat milk
  • 6 peppercorns
  • ½ onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g butter

Heat your oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Halve the squash, peel and deseed, then cut into slices about 1cm thick. Toss with the oil in a roasting tin, season well, then roast until tender and beginning to char at the edges – about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Soften the onion in the oil for 5 minutes, then add the celery and garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes & sugar, then leave to simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until you have a thick puree. Season.

Wash the spinach and put into a saucepan with the water that clings to the leaves. Place over a medium heat and toss for about 4 minutes or until completely wilted. Leave to cool, then squeeze as much water as you can out of the spinach with your hands. Chop and put into a pan with the butter, then gently heat and toss together so the spinach is coated in butter, season with salt, pepper and a good grating of nutmeg.

To make the bechamel, bring the milk to the boil in a pan with the peppercorns, onion and bay leaf. Set aside for 5 minutes to infuse, then strain into a clean pan. Add the flour & butter and whisk over a gentle heat until you have a thick smooth sauce.

Heat your oven again to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

To assemble the lasagne start by buttering a baking dish – about 1.4 litres capacity. Put a layer of roasted squash in the bottom followed by a layer of tomato sauce. Place lasagne sheets on top of this, making sure they don’t overlap (you can cut them with scissors to fit your dish). Add a layer of bechamel, followed by a handful of spinach and half the grated cheese. Top with more lasagne, pumpkin, tomato sauce, more lasagne and a final layer of bechamel. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top. Bake for 40 minutes or until bubbling and golden.

(Original recipe by Diana Henry in BBC Good Food Magazine, December, 2016.)

 

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Fennel & Roasted Tomato Lasagne 1

This is a great veggie dish that has had two outings in our house within a short space of time. It’s also one of the best recipes we’ve found for fennel which we sometimes find a bit uninspiring. We’ve made this in a larger tin, and thus thinner, and also in a deeper one. Both tasted great but we think the smaller diameter deeper dish works better.

Wine Suggestion: a classic match with Sangiovese especially from Chianti in Tuscany. Look out for wines with 100% Sangiovese in this case, even though there are some superb blends out there, as the nature of these wines complements the Fennel and Tomato more. We’ve tried both the Rocca delle Macie Sant’Alfonso Chianti Classico, which is unusally grown on thick clay, and the Selvapiana Chianti Rufina and both complemented the Lasagne excellently.

Fennel & Roast Tomato Lasagne – serves 4

  • 3 fennel bulbs, sliced
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 800g tomatoes on the vine
  • 2tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 150ml double cream, plus a bit extra if needed
  • 100g Parmesan, grated
  • 250g dried lasagne sheets

Heat the oven to 160C Fan. Place the fennel in a large roasting tray, season well and drizzle with 2tbsp of the oil. Place the tomatoes in a separate roasting tray. Season and drizzle with the remaining oil and balsamic. Roast both trays for 30mins

Stir the cream into the fennel and return to the oven for a further 10mins. Meanwhile lightly mash the tomatoes with a fork. Remove the fennel from the oven, grate over most of the cheese and stir to melt – it should make a little sauce that clings to the fennel – add a bit more cream if you need to. Reduce oven temp to 140c fan.

Spoon a thin layer of tomatoes into an ovenproof dish. Top with a layer of pasta, followed by a layer of fennel, then another layer of pasta. Repeat, finishing with a layer of fennel. Scatter over remaining cheese and bake for 45mins until golden and the pasta is cooked. Serve with a green salad.

(Original recipe by Matt Follas in BBC Good Food Magazine, July 2010.)

Fennel & Roasted Tomato Lasagne 2

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This recipe comes in two parts, with the first an easy to make a Bolognese Ragù which tastes good but is not really exciting or flavour-packed like we like. When created into a lasagne, however, it really sings with a perfect balance of flavour.

The recipe takes a while, but is actually quite easy, especially if you make the ragù the day before. We made two lasagne this time which served eight people over two days amply. Alternately, make a big tray of it for a larger crowd.

Ragù – serves 6-8

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 sticks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 leek, finely diced
  • 1 kg minced beef/pork (or half and half)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 200ml white or red wine
  • 2-3 tbsp sugar

Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300°F/Gas mark 2.

Put a large ovenproof casserole on a medium heat and heat the olive oil. Tip in the onion, garlic, celery and leek. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 8-10 minutes or until softened. Turn the heat to high, add the meat and stir to break up, cooking until there are no longer any pink bits.

Add the bay leaf with the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, wine and sugar, and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and cook for about 1 hour in the oven. Season to taste.

Lasagne – serves 6-8

  • 1 quantity of cooked ragù
  • 12-16 sheets of pre-cooked dried lasagne
  • 100g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 50g Parmesan, grated

FOR THE CHEESE SAUCE 

  • 70g butter
  • 70g plain flour
  • 1 litre milk
  • 200g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

First make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, then whisk in the flour and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Gradually pour in the milk and bring to the boil, whisking continuously until the sauce is thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheese and mustard, seasoning with salt and pepper, then set aside.

Put a thin layer of ragù in the bottom of an ovenproof dish (20 x 30cm), cover with a layer of the cheese sauce, then add lasagne sheets to cover, in a single layer. Repeat this process, finishing with a layer of pasta topped with cheese sauce only.

Sprinkle over both cheeses and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.

(Original recipe from Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen by Rachel Allen, HarperCollins, 2013.)

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We’ve made many veggie lasagnes but this is definitely our favourite; really tasty, moist and not too rich or heavy. We had to stop ourselves eating the 6 portions all at once despite only the two of us for dinner. We managed to resist, but only just! Serve with a green salad.

(Apologies for the imperial measurements – Julie doesn’t know the metric recipe for béchamel.)

Roasted Veggie Lasagne – to serve 6

  • 1 pint / 600ml homemade tomato sauce – make your own or use our favourite
  • 3 red peppers
  • 2 aubergines
  • 8 tbsp olive oil
  • dried lasagne sheets
  • handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 125g ball mozzarella, torn

FOR THE BÉCHAMEL

  • 2 oz butter
  • 2 oz flour
  • 1 pint milk

Heat the oven to 200ºC/fan 180ºC. Cut the peppers into large chunks and thinly slice the aubergines. Lightly grease two large baking trays with olive oil. Put the peppers and aubergines on the greased trays and toss with the olive oil and plenty of seasoning. Roast for about 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Meanwhile make your béchamel sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour, then cook for a couple of minutes. Gradually add the milk, stirring continuously stirring. When all the milk is added, keep stirring until the sauce comes to the boil. Turn the heat down and cook until the sauce has started to thicken.

Reduce the oven to 180ºC/fan 160ºC and lightly oil a large ovenproof dish (ours is 20 x 27cm and it fits perfect). Layer a third of the roasted veg on the bottom of the dish. Cover with a third of the tomato sauce. Top with a layer of lasagne sheets (break them to fit – don’t overlap them), then drizzle just less than third of the bechamel sauce over. Repeat until you have used 3 layers of lasagne.

Spoon the remaining sauce over the top, making sure that the surface is totally covered. Scatter the cherry tomatoes and mozzarella over the top. Bake for about 45 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown.

Wine Suggestion: The tomato sauce is acidic so you need to balance this with the wine. Perhaps a light and fruity white with good acidity – we had an off-dry Riesling from Western Australia already open and it worked surprisingly well.

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We’re always on the lookout for a vegetarian lasagne and this one worked well and tasted great. It’s rich so a salad on the side is all that’s needed. Make on the weekend when you’re in no hurry.

Mushroom lasagne – to serve 8

MUSHROOMS:

  • 35g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 400ml lukewarm water
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 800g mixed fresh mushrooms, sliced if large
  • 2 tbsp chopped tarragon
  • 4 tbsp chopped parsley

LASAGNE

  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 60g plain flour
  • 550ml milk
  • 375g ricotta
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 150g feta, crumbled
  • 170g Gruyère, grated
  • 400g lasagne verde
  • 150g fontina cheese (or mozzarella), granted
  • 50g Parmesan, grated
  • salt and white pepper

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas Mark 4. Cover the porcini with the lukewarm water and leave to soak for 5 minutes. Drain and reserve the liquid.

Melt the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan. When foaming add the thyme, porcini and fresh mushrooms. Cook for 4 minutes, or until softened and have released their juice, stirring now and then. Take off the heat and stir in the tarragon, parsley and some salt and pepper. Tip into a bowl and set aside.

Use the same pan to make a béchamel. Put the butter and shallot in the pan and cook over a medium heat for about a minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes; the mix will turn into a paste but shouldn’t take on much colour. Gradually whisk in the milk and porcini soaking liquid, leaving any grit behind. Add ½ tsp salt and keep whisking until boiling. Simmer on a low heat, don’t stop stirring, for about 10 minutes, or until thickish. Take off the heat.

In a small bowl mix the ricotta with the egg, then fold in 3 tbsp of the béchamel and the feta. Add the Gruyère to the remaining béchamel in the pan and stir well to get your main sauce.

Pour boiling water over the lasagne leaves (a few at a time so they don’t stick together) and soak for 2 minutes; remove and dry on a tea towel.

To build the lasagne, pour one-fifth of the sauce over the bottom of an ovenproof dish (about 25 x 35 cm). Cover with lasagne leaves. Spread ¼ of the ricotta mix on top, scatter over ¼ of the mushrooms and sprinkle with ¼ of the fontina. Make three more layers like this, then finish with a layer of pasta covered with sauce.

Sprinkle the Parmesan on top and cover loosely with foil (so it’s not touching the sauce). Bake for 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling up around the sides. Lift off the foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until golden. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Wine Suggestion: You’ve plenty of choices here. You could go for a Chardonnay to complement the rich mushroom sauce or if you prefer red go for something earthy like a Barbera.

(Original recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, Ebury Press, 2010.)

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