Making lasagne can be quite a tiresome activity (never mind the cost of all the meat) so I thought I’d simplify it, but without scrimping on flavour. Recently I’ve been loving roasted vegetables – they’re so simple to make and taste great, so I thought I’d incorporate them into my lasagne.
This is another meal (like my shepherd’s pie with a difference) that is really easy to make earlier in the day and heat up in the evening, or freeze for a future meal.
Ingredients to serve four (and make two portions for the freezer):
- 6 peppers, any combination of colours (£1.98 for two packets of 3, Tesco)
- 3 mediums courgettes (£1.00, Tesco)
- 3 onions (£0.45, Tesco)
- Lasagne sheets (£0.59, Tesco)
- Milk (£0.45 for 1 pint, Tesco)
- Plain flour (£0.40, 500g, Tesco)
- Butter (£0.85, 250g, Tesco)
- Mature cheddar (£1.50, 200g, Tesco) – strong, mature cheese gives a far nicer flavour than mild cheddar
- 2 tins of peeled tomatoes (£0.78, 400g, Tesco)
- Tomato purée (£0.50, 200g, Tesco)
- Dried basil (£0.70, 16g, Tesco)
- Dried oregano (£0.70, 16g, Tesco)
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 7. Chop up all vegetables – peppers, courgettes, and onions – into small chunks and place onto two large baking trays along with some oil, ground pepper, and a sprinkle of dried oregano and dried basil. Roast in the oven for roughly 35/40 minutes – both trays won’t fit on the same shelf so switch them around halfway through.
- Whilst the vegetables are roasting you can make the tomato sauce: empty the tins of tomatoes into a small glass bowl and add two tablespoons of tomato purée. Using a blender, blend until smooth. (This doesn’t really work without a blender, so if you don’t have one I would recommend buying one. Wilko sell them for £4.95, here). Add some ground pepper, and a tablespoon of both dried basil and dried oregano. Cover and allow to simmer for roughly 10 minutes.
- Now you want to make a béchamel sauce: the most basic white sauce. In a saucepan combine 500ml milk with 50g butter and 4 tablespoons of plain flour. Gently stir over a low heat. Keep stirring the mixture as it comes to the boil and thickens – this will take a few minutes. When it has a thick, sauce-like consistency, take the saucepan off the heat and whisk in two big handfuls of grated cheese.
- When the vegetables come out of the oven, combine them in a large bowl with the tomato sauce. Now you can start assembling the lasagne! Take a large glass cooking dish and two individual freezing dishes and line the bottoms with the vegetable sauce. Use roughly half of the mix.
- Cover the vegetable sauce with the lasagne sheets, breaking them if necessary to fit the dishes.
- Then carefully spoon half of the béchamel sauce on top of the lasagne sheets and smooth out. Repeat this whole process once more: vegetables followed by lasagne sheets followed by béchamel sauce.
- Finish off by covering the tops with grated cheese. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for cooking later or freezing. Serve with salad and a slice of garlic bread.
Cooking from frozen: defrost in the fridge overnight and then take out of the fridge half an hour before cooking to bring to room temperature. Cook on gas mark 7 for 30/35 minutes until it is golden on top and bubbling.
Cooking from chilled: take out of the fridge half an hour before cooking and follow instructions as above.
Total cooking time: roughly 30/35 minutes
Preparation time: roughly 50 minutes
Cost per portion: £1.25 – this meal works out so cheap because it goes into six portions
It’s best to prepare this a little ahead of time as it allows the sauce to soak into the pasta sheets, otherwise they could be rather dry. It also means you can get all the washing up out of the way so when it comes to dinner time you can put your feet up and relax!