Posts Tagged ‘white sauce’

Lauren’s Lazy Lasagna

October 21, 2008

After a day of wind rain & hail (yes, hail!) I could think of nothing better then a big plate of spaghetti bolognese for dinner tonight. But. lasagna would be really yummy too wouldn’t it?? But I just couldn’t be bothered with all the layers etc… So I settled for something in between a lasagna & a bolognese. I call it my lazy lasagna!!

Bolognese Sauce:

You can make up the bolognese sauce in advance and freeze it. The amount of sauce in this recipe is too much, but you can always freeze it for another day (in fact the more you make the better, it’s like a staple food around my house. Freeze it in portions that are easy to use).

You will need:

2 kgs beef mince

2 brown onions, finely chopped

2 cans crushed tomatoes (or for those who are clever enough to bottle their own tomato purree, 2 jars!)

1/2 cup tomato paste

1 cup fruit chutney (absolutely necessary – gives a wonderful sweetness to the sauce & a gorgeous deep red colour as well)

Fresh seasonal vegetables, finely chopped (totally your choice – I have been known to use carrots, celery, mushrooms & capsicum at different times in my sauces)

3 cloves garlic, crushed

Fresh or dried herbs to taste (today I used basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley & oregano)

4-5 Bay leaves

Splash of red wine if desired

Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, heat up a good amount of olive oil. Fry mince meat until cooked through, making sure to break up any chunks of mince. Boil off meat juices, and then add onion & cook until soft. Add rest of ingredients except for the garlic, and simmer on low heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic in the last ten minutes, and take a taste test, add anything else you think the sauce needs.

Let cool in the pot for a few minutes, before tranferring it to your containers for fridge and/or freezer.

Putting together your lazy lasagna:

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Put a large pot of water on to boil; you will need to select a pasta type with large holes or spaces with which to catch the sauce with., such as Conchiglie (large shells), Fusilli (large spirals) or Rigatoni which is what I used tonight. While pasta is cooking, you will need to make a batch of white sauce, which I’ve already detailed here.

Drain pasta once it’s al dente, and return it to the now-empty pot, and stir in a good amount of your bolognese sauce to coat all the pasta (the sauce will need to be warmish to do this; if you try to do it with sauce straight out of the fridge you’ll rip your pasta apart trying to stir the sauce through). Pour pasta mix into a baking dish, leaving some space for the white sauce. Spread pasta out evenly & then gently pour the white sauce onto the pasta so it forms an even layer over the pasta mix. Top with grated cheese if desired, and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.

Serve & warm yourself on a cold Wintery night!

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Baked Cauliflower in White Sauce, a Family Favourite

July 24, 2008

I have been enjoying this dish at family dinners ever since I can remember. I have no idea where the recipe originated, but both my mother & grandmother used to cook it, and was great as a side dish to roasts & fish dishes. I actually had to measure my ingredients tonight so I could tell you how much I used! I am so used to just throwing everything in the pan willy nilly.

You will need:

1 small to medium cauliflower

1L milk

120g butter

4 tablespoons plain flour

Good handful of grated cheese of your choice

Pepper & salt

Cauliflower is such an underrated vegetable. I bought this lovely cauli for $2.75 at my local farmer’s outlet, where they only sell what’s in season locally for very reasonable prices. I actually bought this one two weeks ago, and found it in the fridge tonight as perfect as the day I bought it! I was very surprised; if it was a broccoli it would have been a slimy mess. But there was my cauli, perfect as can be.

Cut your cauliflower into ‘trees’, I kept mine at the larger size for this dish. You will need to steam your cauli pieces until they are tender, because they won’t get cooked for long enough in the oven. I just did mine in the microwave for about 6 minutes.

For the white sauce, you will need to warm up your milk before you can use it in the sauce. I also do this in the microwave. And you can grate the cheese while waiting for the milk 🙂

Pre-heat your oven to about 180-200 degrees Celcius. I actually used the non-fan-forced setting for this dish, to get the top nice & golden.

In a large-ish saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat. Wait until it’s nice & bubbly, then sprinkle the flour over the butter. You might want to take it off the heat at this point, until you can get it all mixed together and scraped off the bottom of the pan. Return it to the heat and cook for a full minute, being careful not to let any area of the bottom of the pot alone for too long, as it will burn.

At this point you can start adding your warm milk a little at a time. Add a bit, then stir until it’s fully combined. Then you can add some more. Warm milk added a little at a time ensures you don’t get any lumps in the sauce. Here’s what my sauce looked like after about 5 additions of milk:

It is still quite thick at this stage. Here’s what it looked like after half the milk had been added:

Nice and smooth! Keep adding milk until you reach your preferred thickness, the thicker the sauce the richer your dish will be. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Once your sauce is ready, get your oven dish and spread out a little sauce in the bottom of it. Then put in your cauliflower pieces (used tongs so I didn’t get any excess water into the sauce).

Pour the sauce over the cauliflower so they are smothered in sauce, and sprinkle over the grated cheese.

Stick in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until golden-brown.

Serve and enjoy!