Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Not Your Average Lasagna

Lasagna is the embodiment of comfort food. Its hearty, filling stick to your ribs kind of food that is quintessentially Italian. Its also a great family dish because you can make a large dish of this and every one can get a huge helping. There are so many versions of lasagna these days - traditional versions with minced beef and simple tomato sauce to gourmet versions with mince and sausage and bacon with several types of cheese.  
I love to put a spin on traditional lasagna recipes simply because ..well its Uzo's Food Labs after all. Unexpected big flavors is what I do. I also use the opportunity to add as many vegetables as possible  to ensure my picky hubby gets his share of healthy stuff without having me stand over him with a wooden spoon. 
For this version, I added a bit of Nigerian flavor by seasoning the mince with some suya spice. You will need:
  • 500g mixed minced meat - I like to use minced beef and chicken. Feel free any kind that you prefer
  • 1 large red onion - diced
  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • Half a red bell pepper - diced
  • Half a green bell pepper - diced
  • Half a yellow bell pepper - diced
  • 1 small marrow - peeled, seeds removed and diced
  • Suya spice to taste  - start with 1 tablespoon
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Lasagna sheets
  • Tomato sauce - you can use a good quality brand of your choice
  • White sauce - you can use a good quality brand of your choice
  • Mozzarella cheese - cut into small cubes. Since my son loves lasagna but is not a fan of very strong cheese, mozzarella works for me. However, you can use a combination of cheeses of that you like
In a large sauce pan, add the minced meat mix and cook for about 5 minutes . Add the onions, garlic, vegetables and spices and stir to combine. Cook until minced meat and vegetables are cooked through. Taste and adjust all seasonings if necessary

Add the tomato sauce to the mince and vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Cook for about 5 minutes and taste and adjust seasonings if necessary

In a rectangular oven safe dish, spoon some of the tomato/mince mix onto the bottom of the dish. place enough of the lasagna sheets to fit the dish

Spoon the tomato/mince/vegetable mixture over the sheets, add a layer of the white sauce and repeat the process until dish is full

Top the final layer with the cubed cheese and bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees for about 25 minutes (check the packet of the Lasagna sheets for manufacturers suggested cooking time)

Let lasagna rest for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving to give the cheese a chance to cool down. Scalding cheese is not sexy

I usually serve a salad with lasagna which also helps to cut the richness of the meal. A perfect meal for a large family and leftovers are good for lunch boxes too.


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