Thursday, 4 March 2010

Pasta recipes..

I'm just sitting down to eat some leftovers from yesterday and thought I'd share a couple of simple recipes with you, because this looks yummy!

First, Bolognese sauce.

1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 red pepper
a large handful mushrooms
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 packet beef/lamb mince - about 300-500g.
mixed herbs
Lee and perrins/other worcester sauce.
First, prepare the veggies, open the tins/packets. It saves rushing around trying to find everything at the last minute - which, as I learned the hard way, is definitely not fun.
Chop the onion fairly small and chop/crush the garlic. I don't have a garlic press, so I usually flatten with the side of a knife and cut it as small as I possibly can. Put both to one side and prepare the pepper. I cut it into 1cm-ish chunks, but strips or whatever you prefer will work. Halve and slice the mushrooms.
Fry the onions and garlic in a little bit of oil on a medium heat for about 5 mins, until soft. The onions will usually go pretty clear, but don't let them brown - thats not what we're after.
Add the meat, stir in and fry until the meat has turned brown and is cooked through.
Throw in the mushrooms, pepper and the tomatoes, 1/2 tsp herbs and stir. Add 1-2 tablespoons of worcester sauce, stir again, and turn the heat to low.
Simmer for 30mins to 1hour, till its well cooked, and it should have thickened a bit.
Cook the spaghetti or whatever pasta you're using, and pile on a plate. Spoon the sauce into the centre of the pasta, and enjoy!

This amount made me enough for two really big meals. If you're doing normal size portions, you might just squeeze enough for 4 people.
My brother used this sauce - without the mince or worcester sauce as a nice vegetarian pasta sauce, he just threw in a few more veggies, some tomato puree and left off one to the tins of tomato.
This also makes a really nice sauce for lasagne...which leads me to my next recipe.
Lasagne al Forno.

Sauce as above.
1 jar of white lasagne sauce.
1 packet dry lasagne sheets
lots of grated cheese!

Yes, I'm cheating with the white sauce. I would make it from scratch but this was the first time I'd made lasagne for myself, and I was also trying to teach a guy how to impress his girlfriend with homecooked food. I wasn't about to start trying to teach him how to make a sauce that can so easily go wrong and lumpy. Especially when I'm kind of iffy on it myself.
To make the white sauce from scratch however, melt a few knobs of butter and mix in a few tbsp flour, cook for a couple of mins, stirring. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly and heat till thickened.

Back to the lasagne...

Preheat the oven to Gas4/180C
Take a deep oven dish - square or rectangle would be best. spoon maybe a quarter of the meat sauce into the bottom, spreading it out to cover the base. Cover with sheets of lasagne, breaking peices to cover every bit. Spoon over a layer of white sauce.
Repeat, layering in the same way, twice more finishing with a layer of meat sauce. Spoon the last of the white sauce over this and cover with cheese.

Bake for about 1 hour and serve.
If you need to, either because you're having guests around or you just wont have time, make this in advance and before cooking, put in the fridge till you are ready. It should keep for about a day in the fridge without any issues, so its the perfect dinner party food. You can relax, knowing you've got everything ready in advance.

Nom! That lasagne was gorgey, as is the spaghetti bolognese I have in front of me now, so I think I'll go and eat it before it gets cold...


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