Wednesday, 30 March 2011
We had the missionaries over for tea tonight and, as you know, I always like to spoil them a little bit. Last week one of them mentioned that he hadn't had a Pecan Pie in almost 2 years, and so I thought today I would bake them a Pecan Pie.
Todd does not like Pecan Pie. I know . . . he's crazy. Poor Todd . . . he had fruitcake instead, which he does like. To make matters worse I baked a tasty lasagne for the main course, which Todd also doesn't like!
Or he says he doesn't like it at any rate, but I notice that whenever I do make it he clears all his plate. Ahem . . . me thinks he doth protest too much! He is actually a secret lasagne lover! Ok, so maybe love is tad strong . . . tolerate would probably be more like it in all actuality.
I do make a really good lasagne though. Back home we never topped our lasagne with a Bechamel sauce, so discovering that it is the norm over here was quite exciting to me, but then . . . Over here, they usually don't ever have a layer of ricotta or cottage cheese in the centre like we do back home!
I like to think of this lasagne as being the best of both worlds. It not only has a tasty bechamel on the top and in the middle, but a delicious layer of ricotta cheese in the middle as well! Combine that with a delicious meat sauce and lotsa lotsa cheese and you got one heck of a great lasagne!!
I didn't get a photo of it cut unfortunately, and danged if the Missionaries didn't take all the leftovers with them when they left, so I can only show you the deliciousness of the outside . . .
You'll have to take my word for the deliciousness of the inside I'm afraid. But then again, have I ever lied to you?? I thought not!
*Marie’s Fantastic Lasagne*
This is the best lasagne! Sometimes I do cheat and use a store bought tomato sauce. You can get some very good ones these days. It’s well worth the effort of making your own though! This is a lasagne that you will find yourself thinking about long after you’ve eaten it . . . longing for yet another delicious slice.
½ pound lasagne noodles (I use fresh that I don’t need to cook first)
½ pound extra lean ground beef
½ pound spicy Italian sausage meat (over here I use spicy pork and garlic sausages, removed from their casings)
½ cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 TBS olive oil
3 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (or canned tomatoes, drained)
1 ½ tsp seasoning salt
2 TBS chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 TBS chopped fresh basil
½ tsp dried oregano, crumbled
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
½ cup butter
4 TBS plain flour
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken stock
1 chicken boullion cube (optional)
1/8 tsp salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ pound ricotta cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups grated Parmesan Cheese
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
Butter to dot on top
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and saute the onion and garlic until slightly softened. Add the meats and brown them well. Add the tomatoes and spices and simmer on medium heat until the sauce is quite thick, about 30 to 40 minutes.
While the meat sauce is simmering make the béchamel. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a whisk for about one minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and the chicken broth. Cook, whisking, until it starts to bubble and thicken. Taste for seasoning. You may need to add the bullion cube for additional flavour. Add salt if needed.
Make the ricotta filling by whisking together all the ingredients with a fork. Set aside.
Once you have all the sauces prepared and the filling ready, pre-heat the oven to 200*C/400*F.
Spoon a bit of the meat sauce into a 13 X 9 inch baking dish. Layer on as follows: half of the lasagne noodles, half of the remaining meat sauce, ½ cup of the Béchamel sauce, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, half of the Mozzarella cheese and half the ricotta. Top with the other half of the noodles and repeat the layers once again. Dot the top with butter and bake in the pre-heated oven , uncovered for at least 30 minutes or more, until bubbly and starting to brown.
*You can make this ahead of time and chill, covered, until needed. It also freezes very well!
We like to serve this with a delicious tossed salad and some freshly made garlic bread.