Hi folks, I hope you’ve had a great week. I sure have. Remember how I mentioned that I was starting studying again? Well, I’ve cleared that course now. I took the final exam after 3 weeks, passed with an A, and now I’m jumping straight into something roughly equivalent to high-school level Swedish. With any luck, this will be the last step I need before I can enter university here, although this step of learning is split into three parts, and most certainly will not take three weeks but I’m on my way at least!
Before moving on to the food today it’s time to announce the winner of my giveaway I posted last week! Yep, after a week of caffeine-fuelled excitement, I’m now summoning up the powers of random.org to pick the winner. There were 32 valid entries in total, based on my count of parent comments which met the minimum required (and subsequent optional) criteria, so without further ado, the winner is…
[learn_more caption=”Click to view winner…”]
Nazneen, from Coffee and Crumpets
How apt! Too bad I wasn’t doing a crumpet giveaway. Congratulations Nazneen – please get in touch with me here, or by email within 48 hours to claim your coffee!
Time for pasta-less lasagne
This is something I’ve been wanting to make for a while. It was actually my wife’s idea (though my own execution, I must add) and I must say that it’s really worth a try. Think lasagna, but pull out the pasta. Ok, let’s replace the pasta with something, but what? Why, leek my old friend – your long, thin layered leaves (are they leaves?) make a perfect replacement for pasta. Of course, if you’re not a fan of leek, you could try instead my aubergine pasta-less lasagne, which works just as well!
You end up with a great pasta-less lasagne, with very clearly defined layers, just as you would with regular pasta. The only potential pitfall is that the leek layers aren’t the easiest thing to cut through and you risk ruining the structure of the dish. As a result, I’d recommend using scissors to cut through the lasagne, or, alternatively, steam the leek “sheets” for a while before use. I used them raw which worked fine, but you can always play with the recipe to suit your needs.
My lasagne was a little flat – only two layers – but I made it in a huge pan, so you can of course stack it up as high as you like, depending on the size of your dish. I also added in some beetroot to the meat sauce because, well, beetroot is awesome and brings a delicious earthy sweetness to dishes. I crumbled some feta over the top as well for a bit of variation which worked very well with the beetroot in the lasagne.
Enjoy the pasta-less lasagne folks! I’ll be back next week with a gourmet twist on a crowd pleaser – although I haven’t quite decided how I’m going to make them but if they end up looking like they do in my head then they’re going to be fantastic!
- 400g minced Beef
- 1 large Onion
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 140g Tomato concentrate (~4 tbsps)
- 2 cans (800g) crushed Tomatoes
- 2 large, boiled Beetroots, grated
- 200ml Water
- ~6 tbsps Olive Oil
- 1 tsp dried Oregano
- 1 tsp tried Thyme
- 1tsp Salt
- 50g Butter
- 4 tbsp Plain Flour
- 0.6 litres Milk
- 2 large Leeks, with ends and tops cut off.
- 200g Hard Cheese, such as Cheddar, grated
- 100g Feta Cheese, crumbled
- In a large pan, start off by heating the olive oil for the meat sauce. Finely chop the onion and garlic and sauté in the hot oil until starting to turn translucent. Add in the minced beef. Mix well and continue cooking until the meat is cooked through and browning.
- Add in the crushed tomatoes, tomato concentrate, water and grated beetroot and mix well before finally adding in the oregano, thyme, and salt and stirring in.
- Cook the sauce on a medium heat, stirring from time to time, until it has reduced down a little and thickened up.
- In another pan, melt the butter for the béchamel sauce and then add in the flour. Whisk together and cook the flour and butter together until a light caramel in colour before adding in the milk a bit at a time until you have a velvety sauce. You may need a bit more, or a bit less milk depending on how thick (or thin) you like your sauce.
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and then slit the leeks down their lengths and peel off the first 6 or so outside layers (the leaves will get thicker towards the centre). Wash the leaves thoroughly and line the bottom of a lasagne dish with 2 or 3 or them.
- Place some sauce into the dish and spread out before topping with some béchamel sauce and some more leek. Add some more sauce, béchamel, and leek layers, and keep on going until finally finishing off with a layer of leek and pouring the rest of the béchamel sauce on top.
- Sprinkle over the grated cheese and crumbled feta and then place into the preheated oven. Bake for about 30 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and the feta is starting to brown slightly. Serve, and enjoy!
- Many people will make their lasagne and only add béchamel on the very top. I personally prefer to have it distributed throughout, but if you like it on top only you can easily omit adding it on top of each meat sauce layer, and simply scale down the béchamel ingredients by half.