Monday, 22 November 2010

Lasagne for Two

We have had lasagne 3 times this month and each time it has been super scrummy, but also super runny. Yum in your tum, but not terrible photogenic. I have been trying to make a smaller lasagne --one that’s just right for 2 greedy people, but not so huge it feeds an army. Well meaning friends have said things like “Just make 2 and freeze the other one!” Have you seen the size of our fridge/freezer? It comes up to my shoulders and cannot possibly hold a pan of food as big as a lasagne. The obvious solution was to a) make a giant one and invite friends over or b) figure out how to make a smaller one. I think I have succeeded. It fits into an 8 x 8 glass pan and gives 2 slices apiece. Allowing us to have one as leftover lunch if we want it (if we can stop ourselves from eating it) or 2 thick veggie laden slices apiece if we‘re feeling on the greedy side. 

This happens to be a soy free lasagne because I didn’t have any tofu on hand to make ricotta. I made it with a white bean puree that was really good and would make an excellent mashed potato substitute in a pinch. I plan on trying it soon with a tofu ricotta, but in the mean time--Lasagne for Two.

Lasagne for Two 

Preheat your oven to slightly over 200 C/400 F
1 onion, cut into big chunks
1 pepper, cut into big chunks
4 tomatoes, guts scooped out and cut into 1/8ths
2 tsp olive oil
1 TB balsamic vinegar
Large pinch oregano and basil and fennel seeds

Mix this all together in a big roasting tin and put in the oven to roast for 25-30 minutes while you sort out the rest of the layers. NOTE: These are the veg I had on hand. Feel free to use whatever you’ve got--but leave the tomatoes in if you can. They make up in tomato flavour for a reduced quantity of red sauce.

In the food processor make your white bean filling.

White Bean Filling
1 tin cannelloni white beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup “milk”--we used oat milk
5 TB vegan parmesan cheese
Large pinch dried basil, rosemary and oregano

Zoosh it all together until it is light and fluffy. This makes an excellent lower carb mash potato sub when heated.

Now make your red sauce. This was where I was falling down. 1 regular sized 400g tin of tomatoes (we call these Mama Bear sized) is too much for a mini lasagne. Hence the fact that as good as it tasted it was suffering from a case of the runs. You could just use half a tin and figure out how to use the other half later in the week, but that could end up getting wasted. I found a Baby Bear sized tin of chopped tomatoes that is 227g and it was perfect.

Red Sauce
Aprox 200g tin tomatoes (or half a 400g tin)
1 TB red wine
3 TB tomato puree
Large pinch dried oregano and basil
1 small clove crushed garlic (or 1 tsp garlic infused olive oil)

Puree this sauce until foamy with an immersion blender and put on the stove top to simmer. Now make the cheesy cashew béchamel sauce.

Cheesy Cashew Béchamel Sauce.
300 ml “milk”--about 1 cup plus 3 TB
¼ cup cashews--soaked overnight to soften them if you don’t have a mega high powered blender like we do
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp mustard powder
¼ tsp each turmeric and paprika--optional for colour
2 tsp arrowroot powder

Blend this in your blender until smooth and then heat on the stove, stirring constantly until thickened.

By now your veg are lovely and roasted and slightly charred. Good. Lower the oven temperature to 180 C/ 350 F and get to layering your lasagne. You’ll need enough lasagne sheets to make 3 layers. We buy no boil spinach lasagne sheets and they are a perfect fit for my 8 x8 pan so we use 3 sheets.

Splash a bit of red sauce in the bottom of your pan. Lay on 1 lasagne sheet. Cover it with red sauce. Spoon half the white bean puree (you may have to spread it around with your hands) and layer on half the roasted veg. Then repeat: lasagne sheet, red sauce (if there is not enough to cover the whole lasagne sheet spoon in a bit of béchamel to fill any gaps) the rest of the white bean puree, the rest of the roasted veg, lasagne sheet. Pour the hot béchamel sauce over the top to cover the whole lasagne sheet.

Cover with foil and bake at 180/350 for 30 minutes. Take out and let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

This was mega yum and packed with goodness from the tomato sauce and roasted vegetables as well as the protein packed white bean puree. It held together well and wasn’t runny in the least. I can’t wait to try it again but with cashew ricotta, but I think Spiderman is a wee bit lasagned out, if you know what I’m saying. And if you are careful you can wash the foil and reuse it for your next lasagne! Hooray!

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