Saturday, 7 July 2012

Lasagne - from scratch

If you are after a frugal dinner that will go far, then you cannot go past this dish.  I worked out the sums and this big dish of lasagne cost approx $11 to make for a roasting pan full.  It was so large that for our family of four, we would get three meals worth out of it.  For each meal it costs under $4 to feed two adults and two children, and those are very generous servings.  What I actually did was split it out further and I made up two meals for the four of us and two smaller meals that I froze down for when it's just the boys and I at home (working out at just under $3 a meal).  You could make it cheaper if the mince you use is on a good special or buying prime mince instead of premium (relating to NZ).  The boys gobbled it down and even though I used Cheese Sauce instead of ricotta/cottage cheese in the layers I thought it was super tasty :)

This was my first attempt at making pasta. I held my breath as I waited for MrW to take the first bite to see if I had succeeded in making soft tasty pasta (that tastes like it should lol) or if I had made a big floury gooey mess....I would like to say quite proudly that I succeeded :) It was so easy and I will be repeating pasta making again.

It was a bit time consuming, I think it took a couple of hours from start to finish but I was making it all up as I went along so I'm not surprised really, and I spent sometime during that being coached (by watching her video online over and over) by Sophie Gray in the art of making said easy pasta :) the link for the video on the Destitute Gourmet site is here.  I think although time consuming it is worth it as you get a good few nights worth of meals from it. Those other nights you only have to reheat, a perfect meal to make on a weekend or on a day off if you work outside the home and then have a few quick meals ready to go during your working days.  Also a great dish to make if you are wanting to send some along to friends as it does go a very long way.

Lasagne - from Scratch

Pre-heat oven to 180degC 
Meat Base - 
Good swirl of Oil (I use Olive Oil)
2 Onions - diced finely
4 cloves Garlic - chopped finely
225 - 250gms Beef Mince (I used premium so low in fat)
2 Carrots - diced
2 Courgettes - diced
1/4 Capsicum - diced (it's all I had left, so if you have more use more)
 A good slosh of Red Wine (Optional)
A good Handful of Chopped Mushrooms (Optional)
2 cans Chopped Tomatoes
3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste mixed with water to make 3/4 cup of Watered Paste
2 cans of Lentils
A good couple of handfuls of sliced Silverbeet (Spinach if you have it is fine)
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 teaspoons of Raw Sugar (or to taste)
A good sprinkling of Dried Sweet Basil and Oregano (or use fresh herbs if you have them in the garden)
Fresh Pasta for Lasagne Sheets - 
3 cups Plain Flour
3 Eggs
Good pinch of Salt

Cheese Sauce
40gms Butter
3-4 Tablespoons Plain Flour
Milk - Use enough to make the amount of sauce you need
Salt and Pepper to taste
Good Grating of Cheese
Extra Grated Cheese for on top

Meat Base - 
Gently saute the Onions and Garlic in the Olive Oil.  When softened add the Mince and brown off.
Add the Carrots, Courgettes and Capsicum.  Cook for 2 or so mins and add the Red Wine if using.  Simmer down for a few mins then add the mushrooms and cook until they start to soften.  Add the Tomatoes and the Tomato Paste and cook for 10mins to soften the vegetables.  Add the Lentils, Silverbeet, Salt, Pepper, Raw Sugar and dry/fresh Herbs.  Simmer until needed or it's cooked (I think I had mine on simmering for about 25mins while I made the pasta and sauce).

 Fresh Pasta for Lasagne Sheets - 
Following the video link on the Destitute Gourmet Site  
Make a pile with your flour on a bench/board, mix through the salt and make a well in the middle. Crack in the eggs and using a fork break the eggs and start gradually mixing the flour and the eggs together to start forming the dough.  Don't expect to use all the flour.  When you can start working the dough with your hands, continue forming the ball of dough until you cannot mix any more flour into it.  Sieve the remaining flour back onto the board to use during the kneading/rolling process and add the little bits of pasta dough in the sieve to your dough ball.  Knead the dough ball until it becomes a soft dough and becomes a smooth ball and springs back when you gently poke it with your finger  (I found the dough quite hard when kneading until it got to this stage).  
Place the dough to rest before rolling.  Sophie Gray recommends 5-20mins (I made my cheese sauce whilst this was resting).  When rested, using the left over flour, flour the area you are going to roll the dough out on, and start rolling it out into a plate shape.  Do not flip the dough over and roll the different sides, just roll on the one side but rotate it around so that you are rolling it more into a circle shape.  When the circle gets to the size of a side plate/dinner plate, I used Sophie's technique of placing a side of the dough over the side of the bench, leaning against it to stop it moving start rolling the dough out (do make sure your apron/clothes are clean for this lol).  This anchors the dough so you can really stretch it out.  Rotate as before until you get it all rolled out very thinly and it no longer shrinks back on you but holds it shape. This can now be cut into the pieces needed for your pasta layers.

Cheese Sauce -
Over a low heat, melt the butter and using a whisk stir in the flour (confession here....being the frugal one that I am I used the left over flour from the pasta making).  When all the butter and flour are mixed start very slowly adding a little milk at a time until you have the amount of sauce you need (I think I used a good couple of cups of milk) and keep stirring it until it begins to thicken.  Add the cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside until you are ready to pour it into the layers.

Assembling the Lasagne - 

Grease the dish you are using (I used a roasting pan), then layer Meat, Lasagne Sheet, Cheese Sauce until it is all used up and you end with a Cheese Sauce layer.  Grate over Cheese and crack a little pepper on top.  Bake in the oven for roughly 25 mins, enough to cook the pasta and brown the top. 

Serve with a fresh salad or steamed winter veges and enjoy :)


  1. OH That looks DELICIOUS!

  2. Hello Mrs W. Thank you for visiting my blog, and for the chance to check out yours. Your blog is lovely, full of the things that I am interested in. I look forward to learning more about you and your family in New Zealand. Best wishes from Jean

  3. Great recipe for an old favourite.

  4. Hi Becky it was totally delicious! I managed to delete the one photo I had of it all served up so couldn't post it...duh! :)

  5. Hi Jean, thankyou for visiting my blog :) I am really 'tickled pink' that you came over to say hi :):) It's fantastic through the blogging world that we get to connect with different people and share glimpses into each others lives and how we all live, and the best thing is we can learn so much from sharing with other like minded people. I will come exploring some more on yours soon, Regards, Ruth xx

  6. Oh looks really yummy, and I'm surprised at how easy the pasta looks to make - always thought it would be far to difficult - might have to try it. Your meat loaf recipe I got from you ages ago is still one of my favourites!

  7. of my July Mummies I would think Miss Anonymous? :) HI! Yes my goodness I haven't made my meatloaf in such a long time....I think you may have re-inspired me to make it again :)


Hiya, thanks for taking the time to comment on my post. I can't wait to read your comments and to share ideas, I am a busy mummy with 2 boys to run around after so I will try and get to comments as quickly as I can...if there is a delay in seeing them published this is why, not because I don't care, I'm just taking some time to smell the roses :)

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