Lighter Herbed Lasagne from A Lighter Way To Bake- Cooking The Books, January 2014.

Monday 27th January 2014.

On a Monday I normally have more time to get the dinner ready as I only work on a morning as a rule.  We have to have tea early though as my daughter has a dance class.  Though last week I was in a right muddle and went off to work forgetting that I was going to make lasagne for tea that night and I hadn’t taken the minced beef out of the freezer before going off to work.  This wasn’t a good start and although my hubby had offered to go to the supermarket for me to do the weekly shop while our daughter was dancing, obviously we needed food before.  In the end I had to go shopping and buy some more minced beef for our lasagne.

Lasagne is one of my all time favourite dinners and I’ve loved making it ever since I was a teenager.  It can be time consuming sometimes so I don’t make it as often as I’d like.  I was pleased to see a mouthwatering looking version in Lorraine Pascale’s A Lighter Way To Bake and thought this recipe would fit in with the challenge out of the Savoury Bakes chapter.  Instead of lasagne sheets, Lorraine uses four courgettes cut in lengthway strips for the pasta layer.  As I am the only one in my family who like courgettes this was going to be interesting. I hoped they wouldn’t notice!

The first job was to infuse some milk for the bechamel sauce.  To this I heated up some semi skimmed milk with some rosemary, peppercorns, a bay leaf and some nutmeg.  After this began to steam I took it off the heat and let the flavours infuse with one another.

Then I had  to make the ragu sauce. I dry fried the mince with the chopped onions, carrots and garlic in my large pan.  Once it was browned I added in two tins of chopped tomatoes, some Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree and some beef stock.  Instead of the herbs Lorraine suggests I used some of my spaghetti spice which I made up from a recipe in Nigella Lawson’s Nigelissima book.  This spaghetti spice has parsley, garlic powder, rock salt and crushed dried chillies in it and is so versatile for all pasta and pizza dishes.

To cook the ragu in the really authentic slow way I realised I had started the dinner way too late for it to be ready before my daughter went to her dance class.  In the end she scoffed down a slice of toast and I offered to make her an omelette when she got back!

While the ragu was cooking I prepared the courgette pasta.  My hubby saw the four courgettes on the chopping board and didn’t say anything.   I just got on with the bechamel sauce. The milk was reheated after the herbs were thrown away, to which flour and cheddar were added to it.

Then it was time to assemble the lasagne together.  This was when I realised my dish was a bit big so I could only get two layers of everything, not three as Lorraine suggested in the instructions.  I managed to get it all in the dish and into the oven it went.

Dinner was served with a side salad as soon as my hubby and daughter got home.  I was the only one who enjoyed the lasagne.  My hubby said “Where’s the pasta bit?” I explained that the courgettes were there instead to lower the carb levels, he wasn’t impressed. Neither was my son, who fished out all the courgette slices and left them on his plate.  I think they were both miffed that they were eating their dinner at 8pm at night as well!

In the end I also forgot to take photos of the dinner.  I thought it was really tasty, especially the sauce part. If I make it again I will make it with pasta and work out the calories accordingly as my family liked the meat part of it.

Happy Baking.

Love Sam xx

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