Saturday, June 25, 2011

Serita's Birthday Treat

Simply Lasagna

The first time I heard of this dish I wondered what it was. Living in Malaysia has given me the opportunity to learn so much and hone my skills. When the girls were growing up, pasta was the in thing and so we had it every week. I even went to the extent of buying a pasta machine and made home made pasta regularly...gnocci, lasagna, tomato & spinach, spaghetti, fettuccini, cannelloni, farfelle, tortellini(this took me 4 long hours to make), ravioli, vermicelli, tagliatelli and a lot more varieties. In the beginning we could harly pronounce the names, but gradually we came to love these simple, satisfying meals and soon lasagna ruled the roost. Today is Serita's 24th birthday. So happy birthday girl, happy birthday. May you have many more and eat Lasagna in Italy one day!

The Recipe Serves Four
250 gms San Remo Large Instant Lasagna; 2 tbsp oil, 1 medium onion, chopped fine; 1 medium carrot, grated; 2 cloves garlic, minced; 1 stalk celery, minced; 1/2 kg chicken mince; 400gms tin tomato puree(I use Hunt's);2 chicken soup cubes; 2 cups hot water;salt & pepper to taste; pinch of Italian herbs; 2 tbsp butter; 2 tbsp plain flour; 2 cups low fat milk; 125 gms Cheddar cheese, grated.

Meat Sauce Heat oil in a saucepan. Add onion, carrot, garlic and celery and cook till soft on a medium fire. Add mince, cook till brown. Next, stir in the broken soup cubes, tomato puree, hot water,salt pepper and herbs. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until thick. Keep hot.

Cheese Sauce Melt butter in a seperate pan, stir in flour and cook 2 minutes over gentle heat. Mixture should be pale and not brown. Remove from heat, stir in milk. Return to heat and gently stir until thick and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the grated cheese,reserving some for sprinkling on top of last layer, stirring all the time over low flame till cheese melts.

To Assemble Preheat oven to 180 Centigrade. Pour 1/2 cup of meat sauce into greased baking dish. Alternate layers of lasagna, meat and cheese sauces ending with a cheese sauce layer. (You get 4 layers usually).Sprinkle with remaining grated cheese and bake in oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until cooked through. Test if cooked by pricking with a fork or skewer. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving with a delicious salad or on its own. Guaranteed to vanish in one sitting.

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