Aubergine “Pasta-less” Lasagna
Serves: Makes 6 – 8 portions
Approx cost: €5
Approx calories (per portion, if divided by 6): ~470
Approx preparation and cooking time: 20 minutes preparation, ~1 hour cooking time
It’s time to own up – I made this dish for two reasons this week. One, because I happened to have three aubergines kicking around in my refrigerator, but two, because Linda, from Savouring Every Bite, recently made an aubergine lasagna and it looked deeeee-licious. My lasagne tend to be pretty simple, which is just as well because Wednesday night was an evening from hell. No – that’s not entirely true. I had a good meal out with my wonderful wife, but that hadn’t been the original plan. We drove out of the office parking lot around 6pm, only to immediately get stuck in the mother of traffic jams. It took us 40 minutes just to get to the end of the road (something that normally takes 10 seconds of driving) and since it didn’t look like it was going to get better we decided to park up instead and go out for dinner. I did want to whip up something fast for dinner yesterday evening though and my thoughts turned to the lasagna I’d seen. Things like ricotta aren’t supplies I regularly have in my fridge, so Linda – I hope you’ll forgive me if you feel I’ve bastardized your recipe a bit. It was a great meal and I love the fact that there’s no pasta inside – I could eat aubergine in any format until it comes out of my ears It actually reminded me a bit of a beef moussaka, and we both enjoyed it a lot, so I hope you give it a try – or try Linda’s… or try both You can never have too much aubergine in your life!
In other news – if you didn’t already, it’s not too late to enter my first of two giveaways. Just go and guess a number on my previous post. I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday. Next week I’ll also be doing the second giveaway, and showing you all a few more photos from my trip – that way I can pretend I’m still on vacation, for at least a few more days!
Have a great weekend everyone – I’m trying to convince my wife that a trip to the American café and cake-shop in Paris on the weekend is actually a really good idea, despite the festive indulgence I partook in, so maybe I’ll be able to enjoy some of their awesome cake on Saturday again! In any case, I’ll be back on Monday with a recipe in some shape or form – hopefully something rather fun (if it turns out well enough)
- 300g Minced Beef
- 3 medium sized Aubergines
- 160g Hard Cheese, such as Cheddar, Comté, etc
- 40g Butter
- 2 tbsp Plain Flour
- 0.3 litres Milk
- 1 large Onion
- 140g tomato concentrate (~4 tbsps)
- 1 can (400g) Crushed Tomatoes
- ~6 tbsps Olive Oil
- 1 tsp dried Oregano
- 1 tsp tried Thyme
- Start off by washing and trimming the tops and bottoms away from the aubergines. Cut them into slices lengthways, about 1cm thick. Brush the slices with 5tbsps of the Olive Oil and then arrange them on a large baking sheet and place under the grill/broiler for about 20 minutes, turning every now and again to ensure even cooking through. If you can barbecue or in some way char-grill the slices that’s even better. Much more flavour!
- While the aubergine is cooking, peel the onion and chop finely. Heat the last 1tbsp of Olive Oil in a large pan and fry the onion until it’s starting to turn translucent. Add in the minced beef and continue frying until cooked through. Add in the crushed tomatoes, tomato concentrate and oregano and thyme and mix well. Simmer the sauce until quite thick and then remove from the heat.
- In a new pan melt the butter and when completely melted, add in the flour and mix until smooth with a wooden spoon. Add in the milk, a splash at a time, mixing in well, and ensuring the milk has heated through and blended completely with the butter/flour mix before adding more. The quantities cited above should yield a good sauce, but if for any reason you find it too thick you can add some extra milk or water. Once all the milk has been mixed in, stir well and remove from the heat.
- In a large roasting dish layer up your lasagna. Starting with a layer of grilled aubergine, then meat, béchamel sauce, more aubergine, meat, aubergine, sauce, and then finally grate the cheese over the top.
- Place into the oven at about 160 degrees Celsius for about 1 hour. Doing it for a nice long time will ensure that the sauce really infuses well into the aubergine and the aubergine itself will become ultra tender. After an hour or so the cheese should be browning nicely, like in the picture below… oh yeah!
- Serve up with a fresh salad, some baby spinach, a nice sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper – yummy. Can be stashed away for a lunch the next day, and will even improve if left, as the sauces will infuse even more through the dish! Enjoy