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Brown Rice Lasagne



We are having one set of the missionaries for supper tonight (Wednesday as I write this), and I wanted to make them something hearty and delicious, so I thought . . .  Lasagne.  Who doesn't like lasagne (shut up Todd).  Not many people dislike lasagne.  I wanted to make a version without meat, but I also wanted it to have plenty of protein and texture, as much as my old regular version of lasagne.   I decided I would try it with this rice that I had picked up at the grocery shop on Monday.  I did a small single size version first, so I could try it before I actually fed it to them, which is what you are seeing here.  To be honest, I have NEVER been overly fond of the texture of ground meat and pasta together. This goes back to my childhood, so I was really keen to try this out. It worked out really well and so  . . .


This is the larger version that I made to feed the missionaries . . . I hope that they like it.


This is the rice that I used, a 220g pack of Morrison's Rice Medley, which is a mix of seasoned brown, red and wild rices. Low in fat, high in fibre, and containing almost 4g of protein.  I thought it would add some of heartiness to the dish, and some complex carbs which are good for you. That's where you draw your energy from.


I was really, really pleased with how it turned out.  It looked great! 


In addition to the layers of cheese, sauce, and rice, there is also a lovely layer of cottage cheese (in the North American manner) which is mixed with garlic, parsley, beaten egg, seasoning and some Parmesan cheese.  I used low fat cottage cheese which works fine.


Not sure if you can see all the layers or not in this photo . . .  they kind of all blend together, but trust me when I tell you, they are all there.


You can use a good bottled tomato and basil sauce, or make your own from scratch.  You can find my recipe here.  I make it in the summer when tomatoes are at their best and then freeze it to use when I need it.  But if you are looking for a good bottled sauce, I recommend Lloyd Grossman's. Its really good and quite close to homemade with lots of lovely bits and a great flavour.


I use the fresh lasagna sheets you buy at the shops. Most shops have their own brand. You can find them in the chiller section where you will find the fresh tortellini and ravioli.  They are also very easy to cut to size.  I always end up cutting them to fit my dish. I alternate the cut bits when I am layering everything in, having them on the right hand side for one layer and the left hand side for the next.


I was really, really pleased with how this turned out and I hope that the lads enjoy it.  I am also serving a salad, crusty rolls and a dessert.


*Brown Rice Lasagne*
Serves 8


You can easily prepare this in two separate casseroles, cooking one for now and freezing one for later.  It's also very easy to divide it into 8 single serving metal tins so that you have 8 lasagne ready meals ready and in the freezer for when you need them. 



  1 litre of tomato and basil pasta sauce (4 1/2 cups)
1 pouch Mixed Rice Medley (Containing brown, red and wild rice, 2 cups)
1 package of no bake fresh lasagne noodles
1 300g container  of no fat small curd cottage cheese (about 1 1/2 cup)
1 TBS dry parsley flakes
salt and black pepper
1 large free range egg, lightly beaten
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed and divided
260g of grated Mozzarella Cheese (2 cups)
120g of grated cheddar cheese (1 cup)
90g of finely grated Parmesan Cheese (1/2 cup)
1 recipe of Bechamel sauce (see below) 




Mix together one clove of garlic and the cooked rice. Set aside. Stir together the cottage cheese, parsley flakes, beaten egg, the remaining clove of garlic, 1/4 of the Parmesan cheese and some seasoning.  Set aside.

Mix the remainder of the cheeses together.  Set aside.

Pre-heat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.   Spray one 9 by 13 inch baking dish, or two 8 inch square dishes, or 8 small deep tinfoil pans with some nonstick cooking spray.

Spoon a portion of marinara sauce (1/3) into the bottom of each to cover lightly.  Cover with lasagne noodles.  Cover with another portion of sauce (1/3) and half of the grated cheeses and the rice mixture.   Cover with another layer of lasagne noodles.   Spoon the cottage cheese mixture over top of the noodles.  Cover with the remainder of the sauce and most of the remaining cheese mixture, reserving a handful for the end.   Add a final layer of noodles.  Spoon the bechamel over top to cover.  Sprinkle with the remainder of the cheese and the remaining Parmesan cheese.

Cover and bake for about 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.  Let stand for about 10 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.

If freezing, do not bake.  Simply place into the dish (s) as required, wrap tightly and freeze for up to six months.   To cook, thaw out over night and pop into the oven , cooking as above.  If you are doing single servings it will not take as long.




*White Sauce or Bechamel Sauce*
Makes about  1 1/2 cup 

I think this was one of the first things I learned how to make in home economics at school.   When well made, this simple sauce has a proper place in homey, creamed dishes, often making leftover stretch or giving cooked foods a new life.  A good bechamal is the basis for many dishes such as souffles, or macaroni and cheese.  The foolproof way to achieve a perfectly smooth sauce is to have the milk hot when you add it to the butter and flour.  It uses an extra pot, but perfection is perfection.   

2 TBS butter
2 TBS plain flour
285ml of hot milk (1 1/4 cups)
salt
freshly ground black pepper 

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly until the flour is cooked out and bubbles a bit.  Do NOT let it brown.   This will take about 2 minutes.   Whisk in the hot milk, slowly, whisking constantly until the milk is all whisked in and the sauce thickens.   Bring to the boil.  Stir in the salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat to very low and continue to cook, whisking, for an additional 2 to 3 minutes longer.   Remove from the heat.  If you are using the sauce later, cover the top with a round of baking parchment to prevent a skin from forming.  (You can also pour a very thin layer of milk over top which works in much the same way.) 

It does make rather a lot, but if you break it down you can do it in two casserole dishes and freeze one (unbaked) for another time.  Having a lasagne you can take out of the freezer when you need it is never a bad thing. 😉  Bon appetit! 




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Marie Rayner
6 Comments
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6 comments:

  1. I love lasagna and rice..bet it was good Marie..you're so nice to have the lads over:)

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    Replies
    1. They each had two large helpings Monique! They loved it. One of them said it was even better than his mom’s! That made me happy that they were happy! Xo

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  2. Why have I never thought of this? What a brilliant idea - I can't wait to try it. Will do so next week and report back to you. It sounds really delicious.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I am on pins and needles Marie! I hope that you enjoy it! Fingers crossed! I thought the brown rice was a beautiful addition myself! xo

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    2. This was so nice. We had vegetarian guests over for dinner and they loved it as well. The only addition I made was to add a pinch of nutmeg to the bechemal sauce, something that an Italian neighbour always recommended with a white sauce on pasta. We don't get fancy packs of precooked rice here, but it was easy enough to cook some brown rice earlier. The smell when it was cooking was really beautiful. Add a salad and some warm herb bread and it made the perfect meal.

      Another Marie winner dinner! :-)

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    3. I am so SOOO pleased it was enjoyed Marie! I love it when people make what I cook and enjoy it also! itbreally makes my day! Xo

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