Wednesday, July 31, 2013

We occasionally eat Lasagna from Italian Restaurants in food courts when we do not find anything else interesting. I have never made Lasagna before neither did I ever intend to. I was at the supermarket to buy milk and happened to pass by the pasta and noodles section. The aisles were getting filled and a family was blocking the way which made me stand for a few minutes right in front of the lasagna noodle sheets. I picked up the pack 3 times and put it back thinking I would never make it. Finally proceeded to buy the milk. At the billing desk I suddenly changed my mind and thought I should probably try once. 

When I looked up for recipes after getting back home I found that Lasagna is baked in a lasagna baking dish or in a glass or stoneware baking dishes but never in aluminium dishes or pans. I did not want to go buy a new baking dish just to prepare Lasagna. On further research I found that you can use an aluminium pan lined with parchment paper. Bingo. I had both.

I used my smallest bread loaf pan to prepare Lasagna as I didn't want to deal with a lot of leftovers.
This was my first attempt and the results were great. It is very true when they say nothing can beat the taste of homemade Lasagna. I ended up adding excess bechamel sauce due to which the Lasagna was very tasty but fell apart on serving. I also need to learn how to cut and serve lasagna. The leftover lasagna however cut into perfect serving without any mess so I think the bechamel sauce needs to cool down well to settle. Well there is always a next time, I am sure with some control over the amount of sauce and filling the Lasagna will cut into beautiful servings.

Here is the recipe..

Serves - 2-3
Ingredients :
For meat layer:
Mutton mince - 300 gms
Onion - 1medium chopped
Tomato - 1 medium chopped
Tomato Paste - 2 Tablespoons
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 teaspoon
Red Chilli Powder - 1 Teaspoon or as per taste
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Cooking oil - 1 tablespoon

Lasagna noodle sheets - 3-4
Boiling salted water with few drops of oil

Bechamel Sauce:
Butter - 4 tablespoons
All Purpose Flour - 4 tablespoons
Milk - 2 cups
Salt and pepper to taste

Grated Mozarella Cheese for topping

Method :
1. First prepare the minced meat. In a saucepan heat oil, add the onions and saute until translucent.
2. Add the minced meat without any water and mix well to avoid lumps.
3. The might may release some water. Let it all dry as you mix.
4. Add ginger garlic paste and saute.
5. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt and mix well.
6. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and mix well.
7. Keep stirring on low flame as the tomato will release some juice as it cooks.
8. Turn off the flame once the minced meat meat is cooked. Let it cool.

9. Now prepare the Bechamel sauce. In a saucepan melt butter.
10. Add the flour and mix well. Let the flour cook on low flame till it turns straw color.
11. Add the milk 2 tablespoons at a time and mix well to avoid lumps. Repeat till you use up all the milk.
12. Let it cook for few minutes till it turns into a sauce consistency.
13. Season with salt and pepper. Keep it aside to cool.

14. In a pot of boiling water with some salt and drops of oil, add the noodles. Cook it for 5 minutes and drain the water.
15. Separate the noodle sheets as they will stick if they cool down.
16. Preheat oven to 180C.
17. Prepare the baking tray by greasing with oil or butter. I also lined it with parchment paper as I used an aluminium loaf tin. You will need a tall baking dish to get a few good layers.

18. Spread a layer of meat at the bottom of the pan.

19. Top with some bechamel sauce. Spread evenly.

20. Place the cooked noodle sheets to cover the entire area. I needed just one as I used a loaf tin.

21. Spread a layer of meat.

22. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese.

23. Spread a layer of bechamel sauce.

24. Place another layer of noodle sheets. 

25. Make layers in this manner. I made 3. 

26. Sprinkle the topmost layer generously with shredded mozzarella cheese.

27. I covered this with heavy duty aluminium foil but you can cover with a lid if your baking dish comes with one.
28. Before covering with aluminium foil, insert toothpicks into the lasagna with 1/2 inch length of toothpick sticking out. This is to avoid contact of the aluminium foil with the cheese. 

29. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
30. Remove the foil and bake a further 10 minutes or till the cheese starts bubbling and turns golden.
31. Let it rest out of the oven for 10-15 minutes till it cools down a little.

Enjoy Lasagna.. 

Note :
1. I dis not cook the meat following authentic lasagna meat filling recipe. This is my own.
2. discard parchment paper. 



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