Thursday, 7 February 2013

Lasagna

      Lasagna is an baked Italian dish layering  ribbon-shaped pasta sheets  with white sauce, meat/vegetable mince with tomato sauce and cheese.  I had eyed this dish  nearly a month ago.. After extensive study, research and videos, (for two weeks)  I, finally am coming up with this recipe... Here I will be discussing how to prepare  & cook Lasagna sheets, preparation of two sauces (Bechamel sauce, Bolognese sauce) , Assembly, Baking and lastly how to store & reuse.  I am also presenting Lasagna cups, a new variant of   quick lasagna...




How to prepare &  cook Lasagna sheets





  • Normally Lasagna sheets are made up of wheat flour, eggs and salt. Since I had decided to make this entire recipe in vegetarian style, I replaced eggs with 2 tsp of soft butter.
  • Prepare dough with 1 cup wheat flour, 2 tsp butter and 1/2 tsp salt. Refrigerate for half an hour
  • Then knead it finely, roll out as thin as possible, later by placing any rectangular/ribbon shaped lid make an impression over the dough.
  • Cut into neat rectangular strips, keep aside




  • Heat two to three cups normal water in vessel on high flame
  • When water starts to boil, lower the flame, introduce a single lasagna sheet into vessel
  • At first, the sheet will sink to bottom.  After sometime, the sheet will float to top, do not stir in lasagna before it floats to top,, otherwise it will break.
  • After lasagna sheets floats to top, turn them to other side using a wooden spatula
  • Cook for two minutes at simmer flame, at end of third minute, insert a knife at one corner and observe it.  If the knife comes out clean and moist, lasagna sheets are cooked
  • Be careful while cooking lasagna sheets because it will take less then five minutes for cooking
  • Later on, using spatula remove the sheets and place on clean, moist  cotton cloth.  Let it drain. Repeat the same process for all sheets
  • After lasagna gets cooled to room temperature, it is ready for assembly






Preparation of Bechamel/ white sauce






  • This white sauce has equal quantity of butter and maida combined n cooked in milk. Seasoning requires salt, pepper and bit of nutmeg
  • In a deep vessel take 2 tsp of butter and 2 tsp of maida/regular flour.  Cook till it mixes well.  Don't cook for too long, because the butter-maida mixture will brown and what we require is a white sauce
  • After butter-maida mixes well, pour in one cup of milk, stirring continously with spatula inorder to incorporate milk properly
  • Stir in continously for two minutes. at end of third minute, you will obtain saucy consistency.
  • An ideal bechamel sauce when lifted through spoon, must stick slightly to it
  • Season the sauce with salt, pepper (as per your taste)  and pinch of nutmeg, keep aside

Preparation of bolognese sauce



Bolognese sauce is a meat-based sauce cooked with tomato concentrate.  Here I replaced meat mince with vegetable mixture.






  • Melt two tsp of butter in kadaai, add 2 tsp finely chopped garlic and 4 tsp finely sliced shallots
  • Fry them well.  Lateron, add 2 tsp finely chopped celery, 4 tsp finely chopped carrot, 4 tsp finely chopped mushroom and 4 tsp finely chopped broccoli
  • Let them cook properly, if possible mash the vegetables while cooking using dal masher so that the mixture reduce to vegetable mince-like form
  • After they get cooked, add 1/4 cup tomato sauce, salt, pepper and pinch of nutmeg.  Keep aside
  • You can also season it with  chilly flakes

Assembly & Baking



  • In a oil-greased baking tray (which is lined with aluminium foil) place bolognese sauce
  • Top it with cooked lasagna sheet
  • Spoon some bolognese sauce over lasagna sheet
  • Spoon some bechamel sauce (If the sauce has thickened by the time of assembly, add 1/4 cup of warm milk to bring back to saucy consistency)
  • Sprinkle generous amount of grated cheese
  • Top it with second lasagna sheet... repeat the layers till third lasagna sheet gets covered with bolognese-bechamel-grated cheese.  This is the final assembly





Lasagna cups



  • This is popular variant of Lasagna, grease muffin tray and line in lasagna sheets over tray, forming a cover
  • Spoon bolognese sauce, followed by bechamel sauce as second layer
  • Finally sprinkle with lots  & lots of grated cheese



Bake the prepared lasagna sheets & cups at 170 degree celsius for 35 minutes.  





 Beautiful Lasagna & Lasagna cups ready-to-consume.. Though they can be served with vegetable salad/any bread.. i preferred it alone.  The taste was very nice and didn't require any sauce because the dish already have sauce in its composition :)





Storage & Reuse


  • After preparing lasagna, let it cool down to room temperature
  • Wrap it in plastic. Also wrap in aluminium foil as second layer, keep it in freezer
  • This can be stored for 2-3 months


For reuse, transfer the content from freezer into normal refrigerator shelves, below to thaw overnight.  At morning,  re-heat them on pre-heated oven  and njoy.....


Am linking this fabulous dish to Favourite-Nonindian food event, 

Favorite recipes non indian


Cheese

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