Now this was a hodge podge of a meal but aren’t those just the best ones sometimes? I really wanted lasagne and thought I had left over bolognese in freezer. I hadn’t. I’d eaten it. I just didn’t remember.
While I was pawing (and shivering) through the freezer I stumbled on a single frozen beef burger, half a packet of quorn and some hidden vegetable sauce.
Hidden vegetable sauce is essentially a tin of tomatoes and every roasted vegetable you can think of whizzed up into a purée. Kind of like baby food but also kind of delicious. I had a lightbulb moment to bulk it the quorn with the beef burger and some mushrooms, and make a sauce using the hidden vegetable sauce. I added a bit of Harissa and cinnamon to pep it up and it turned out great, layered with aubergine and bechemel and baked in the oven.
That’s a very specific recipe, and if you have all the real ingredients for this I’d recommend making it properly, it’s probably going to be nicer and less of a faff than making your own hidden vegetable sauce to begin with. But if you have any lying around, throw it in!!
- 2 medium aubergines
- 2 inch piece fresh Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- Olive oil for frying
For the lasagne sauce
- 250g minced lamb or beef
- Jar of passata
- 1 tbsp tomato paste or good dollop
- 1 medium onion
- 1/2 punnet mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp Harissa
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
For the béchamel sauce
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/2 pint milk
Preheat the oven to 150c. Chop the onions, garlic and mushrooms quite finely. Slice the aubergines length-ways and rather thinly and put to one side. In a big oven proof pan soften garlic, onions and mushrooms for 6 minutes or so in the olive oil or until cooked.
Next, add the mince and stir until it’s about 20% pink. Pour in the passata, adding a splash of red wine at this point if you like. Add the Harissa, tomato paste and cinnamon and pop in the oven, uncovered for around an hour – keep checking on it to make sure it doesn’t to too dry.
Meanwhile make the béchamel, by melting the butter over a low heat and then stirring in the flour. Gradually add the milk a bit at a time, whisking until it is thickened. Put to one side.
Heat a large griddle pan with a little oil. Drizzle a little oil over the aubergines before placing on the hot griddle, turning once after 20-30 seconds and the slices have slightly charred. Place on kitchen paper to remove any excess grease.
Once the sauce is ready and aubergines are griddled, assemble lasagne in a large flat ovenproof dish. Layer first the meat sauce, followed by a layer of aubergines, then meat sauce, then béchamel, then aubergines, then meat, then béchamel… And so on until you reach a final layer of aubergines covered in the remaining béchamel.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and nutmeg and place in the oven for 40-60 minutes or until browning on top. Serve and enjoy!