People love lasagne but often think it's too complicated to make when you're in a hurry to feed the masses. This recipe puts paid to that old myth! Although it's not lasagne in the traditional sense, it uses pasta instead of lasagne sheets. It's a pretty close imitation.
This recipe uses very affordable ingredients and makes a large quantity. It's suitable for freezing, entertaining, or for large families.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes 5 to brown cheese
Makes: 10 servings
Meat Sauce: Olive oil
2kg beef mince
3 medium brown onions
1 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1 tbsp sea salt
Good quantity of fresh herbs like parsley, oregano, and chives (you can use dried)
6 garlic cloves
1 packet of pasta (penne or spirals etc)
1 cup grated cheese
Boil a large pot of water, cook pasta as you normally do, strain and set aside with a little olive oil on it to stop the pieces sticking together.
Preheat oven to 200C.
Add oil to a heavy based pan (one suitable for oven as well as stove top if possible) and brown mince. If using dried herbs add them now.
Add wine 1 minute before turning off.
Once the mince is cooked take it off the heat and stir through the garlic, salt, tomato paste, and fresh herbs and half a cup of water. The herbs and garlic will lightly cook in the hot mince but will retain their freshness and add a wonderful light flavour that would be lost if you cooked them.
Add water and bay leaves to a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
Turn the heat down and gently stir in the vegetable stock, cream cheese, and cream. Stir constantly until melted then remove the bay leaves.
own image - boiling water with bay leaves
own image - melting cream cheese
Assembling it all
If you used an oven safe pan for the mince, just spread the pasta on top of the mince. Otherwise place the mince at the bottom of a baking dish then add pasta on top.
Gently pour bechamel over the top as evenly as possible
Sprinkle grated cheese over the top and bake until melted
own image - with melted cheese
Use a serving spoon to serve on plates or in bowls and serve with (or without) a light salad
Place leftovers in a freezer safe container and break out in case of emergency!