Saturday, October 29, 2011
This is a simple, filling, meat-and-pasta-free version of my favourite of favourite Italian dishes. Lasagne. And why on earth would anyone ever choose not to use pasta? Lotsa reasons. Maybe even 'cos you forgot to buy lasagne sheets, flour and polenta.
Heh heh. Even my resident noodle-lovers didn't catch me on this one ...
15-20 min prep + 45 min - 1 hr baking
1 can (400mL) organic diced tomatoes
1 tub (140mL) organic tomato paste
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1 extra-large orange sweet potato or a couple of smaller ones, thinly sliced
450g quark, ricotta, or strained cottage cheese
2 small zucchinis, thinly sliced
4-6 handfuls of mixed shredded cheeses (including parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella, whatever you have on hand)
*Try to use organic ingredients when you can!
1. Preheat the oven to 180C (360F). Pull out a laptop-sized rectangular baking dish. Mix together all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl, and set to the side. Get ready to build.
Layer 1: Spread 200mL (~3/4 cup) of sauce across the bottom of the dish.
Layer 2 & 3: Place slices of sweet potato over the sauce, one at a time, so there's no sauce visible below. Repeat so you have two layers of sweet potatoes.
Layer 4: Drizzle over 100mL (~1/3 cup) sauce. Don't worry about uniformity.
Layer 5: Spread the quark or ricotta or strained cottage cheese over.
Layer 6: Add 1 layer of zucchini slices
Layer 7: Then 100mL sauce
Layer 8: Finally, 1 more layer of sweet potato slices
Layer 9: The rest of the sauce
Layer 10: And cheese.
2. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 140C (300F) and continue baking for another 15-30 minutes. How long you bake for will depend a lot on the thickness of your slices and the size of your dish, so keep checking. The lasagne is done when the cheese is crispy and browned, and there are bubbles of sauce up the sides, and the veggies are well-cooked inside. (Use a knife to check)
3. When it's done, leave out of the oven for a few minutes before slicing and serving with a green salad and a glass of wine.
I got my veggies at the market (zucchini's everywhere at the moment) and my quark marked-down at the natural foods store, so this organic lasagne cost me only $10 to make! It just goes to show you can make amazing food for hardly anything at all. In fact, you could sub out the zucchini for another veggie in-season if you like, to maximise freshness and minimise cost.
And hey, out there, I'd love to hear from you. Here in the comments, or over on Twitter or Facebook - so please don't be shy about saying hello!
Have a lovely weekend,