Friday, 10 August 2018

Rach Eats Lunch: Simple Lasagne Pasta Bake

Simple lasagne pasta bake recipe

Have you ever been so tired you're pretty certain you're at breaking point? Yes? That's me right now, that is. I'm not a very good sleeper at the moment, I have a feeling it's due to the humid weather, and possibly I'm experiencing another CFS flare up. I really am exhausted out of my brains and it's even more exhausting than what I'm used to. Funnily enough, we've got another bank holiday coming up and we're desperately coming up with ideas for the Monday. To be fair, no one wants to be stuck in the house with just daytime TV for company (and actually, while we're at it, it's always a bit unfair that TV channels don't sack their schedule off for a load of old films any more - nope, we're still stuck with Jeremy Kyle instead of yet another repeat of Free Willy. I'll save my opinions on Jeremy Kyle for another day, but it's not very flattering.) so we're hoping to find somewhere cool to go. But also the weather as well. They've predicted actual thunderstorms so I'm hoping we find somewhere cool to go. Maybe shopping? I refuse to be stuck in the house on Monday, so...

So... today's recipe is based on an old classic, my vegetarian penne ragu - except I'm turning it up, and it's going to be lit. (Like the kids say... um...) I'm covering it in cheese and baking that baby in the oven and making it into a simple lasagne. Lasagne is a bit of a pain in the butt if I'm honest, so this marries it altogether in delicious fashion. If you loved my ragu but you also love a good bit of cheese (who doesn't?) you're going to be putting this on your to cook list almost immediately. It looks good, tastes good, takes a little while longer and a few saucepans to make, but it's going to be worth it in the end.


(Goes well with garlic bread... just saying!)

Serves 2 (if you make it for two, up the quantities of pasta and mince to 120g each)

You'll need:
75g frozen vegetarian mince
75g dried penne pasta
300g chopped tinned tomatoes
1/2 red onion, diced
1 teaspoon each paprika, garlic, salt and pepper
1 tablespoon each lemon juice, brown vinegar and brown sugar
2 tablespoons approx. cold water (optional)
150ml plain soya milk
10g each soya margerine and plain flour
65g grated strong cheddar cheese, plus 20g extra for sprinkling

1. Grab two saucepans, and an oven proof dish. In one saucepan, measure out the tinned tomatoes, along with the spices, onion, lemon juice, vinegar and sugar. Give it a good old stir and pop it on the hob. Bring it to the boil, and then turn the temperature back down to low-medium. You can leave it then for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. But the longer the better really, to make the flavour pop. If it does go a bit dry though, and it shouldn't, add two tablespoons of water and give it another stir.

2. At the 20 minute mark, add the frozen vegetarian mince and stir it up. Allow it to cook for fifteen minutes until piping hot all the way through. Preheat the oven to 180℃.

3. At the very same time, boil up some water and drop in the penne pasta. Cook until it doubles in size and goes all lovely and soft.

4. When you're nearly done, measure the milk and margerine into a jug, and stick it in the microwave on full power for 3 minutes. Grate the cheese into a blender jug and add the flour, then pour over the milk, pop the blender lid on and whizz it up until it makes a smooth yet thickened sauce. Season and stir it up once more.

5. Turn off the tomato mince mixture and add the cooked pasta to the dish. Stir it up and add it to the ovenproof dish, then pour the cheese sauce over the top of the pasta and sprinkle on a little bit more cheese. Pop the dish straight into the oven for about 15-20 minutes until the cheese sauce has a golden film to it.

6. Finally, take the ovenproof dish out of the oven and allow the pasta to set for about 2-3 minutes. Find a fish slice from the drawer, cut it down the middle... and serve. Eat it immediately.

Okay, I officially have a food baby now. That was immense - it's not an everyday meal (think of your health, people!) but it's definitely a great one for the weekends. Do it - it's amazing!

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