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a meat, tomato and cheese pasta bake

Meat Sauce
500g beef mince
1 tsp minced or powdered garlic
¼ tsp salt (optional)
a shake of white pepper
400gm diced Italian tomatoes
70g tomato paste
1 medium onion, chopped
1 level teaspoon mixed Italian herbs
1 cup chicken stock
1 Tbsp olive oil

Cheese Roux
500ml milk
50g margarine + tsp olive oil
2 rounded Tbsps plain flour (GF available)
250g grated cheese (cheddar or other if preferred)
Note: this white sauce needs to be the consistency of thick custard.

Approx 170g of dry lasagne sheets (GF available) sufficient to cover 3 layers in the dish.

Meat Sauce warm the olive oil in a large pan on medium; then add chopped onion, garlic, salt if using, pepper and Italian herbs and sauté until onion browns slightly. Put in the beef mince a bit at a time, breaking it up as you continue to cook. Once the meat is totally browned, add the chicken stock, diced tomatoes and tomato paste; then stir until boiling. Turn down to simmer and carry on cooking, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced to a thick gravy.

Cheese Roux in a separate pan, melt the margarine with the teaspoon of oil. Once just sizzling, take off the heat, add the flour and stir well to combine and remove lumps. Return to the burner for a couple of minutes. Remove again and begin adding the milk a little at a time, stirring to mix well, ensuring the sauce is smooth and not lumpy. Put this back on the stove and stir constantly to thicken. Don't use a high heat, turning it down towards the last to avoid lumping. Reserve about 1½ cups of grated cheese and put the remainder in the sauce, stirring until it has melted.

Grease a deep 33cm (9 inch) baking dish or tin - this will accommodate 3 layers. Spread a little of the meat sauce to coat the bottom, then place enough pasta sheets on to cover. Tip: don't let these touch the sides of the dish, or the edges will dry out. Put 1/3 of the meat sauce on the pasta and spread evenly. Sprinkle on just a little cheese before spooning over 1/3 of the roux. Continue repeating this method twice more, finishing with the roux. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese evenly. Bake on 175°C fan-forced (195°C conventional) for 35-40 minutes, turning the dish through 90° every 10 minutes so that the lasagne cooks evenly and the topping browns.

Serves 4 with salad or vegetables           Freezes well

Click this Click for PDF file image to view or print recipe.

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