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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Lasagna

Don't let the name scare you off. The blood glucose effect depends on serve size. Eat a little less, add some salad.

Originally on the back of a "Zafarelli" pack, modified somewhat. You'll need a lightly oiled lasagna baking dish, approximately 325x225x50 mm or 13" x 9" x 2".

Ingredients

Basic:
250 gm ( ½ lb) of lasagna sheets. Most no longer need pre-cooking, but check the label just in case.
250 to 300 gms ( ½ to ¾ lb) grated mozzarella cheese.
Grated parmesan cheese.

Meat Sauce:
2 to 3 tablespoons Olive oil
2 chopped medium onions
125 gm ( ¼ lb) roughly chopped bacon or ham
250 to 300 gms ( ½ to ¾ lb) of minced (ground) beef
1 ½ cups water
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 x 400 gm (14 oz) undrained cans of chopped peeled tomatoes, or equivalent in ripe fresh tomatoes
¼ cup tomato paste
salt, pepper to taste
1 teaspoon chopped dried basil, 1 teaspoon oregano or chopped fresh equivalent to taste.

Bechamel Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons plain flour
600 mls (1 pint) milk
½ teaspoon of grated nutmeg
salt, pepper to taste

Method, including meat fat reduction

In a large saucepan, gently fry the onion and bacon in a little olive oil until onion is translucent and most of the fat has rendered out of the bacon. Add the minced beef and stir over moderate heat until the meat has browned and separated. Add the water and simmer for ten minutes. Reserve the liquid by pouring through a strainer. Put the meat aside, and store the liquid in the fridge to let the fat rise to the top. Add an ice cube or two if you want to speed the process up. Use a "fat/oil separator" if you have one.

Gently fry the garlic in a little oil over moderate heat, stirring until just browned. Add the chopped tomatoes with their juice and bring to a slow simmer. Then add herbs and seasoning. Simmer for 30 - 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add just a little water if it starts to get too thick.

Skim the fat from the reserved liquid and combine the liquid with the tomatoes and the reserved meat. Add the tomato paste and simmer for another thirty minutes, stirring occasionally.

While it's simmering, prepare the Bechamel sauce. Stir the flour and oil together over low heat. Increase the heat slightly, and continue stirring while gradually adding milk. Add the nutmeg and seasoning, continuing to stir until the sauce is smooth and thick.

Assembly

Spread a thin layer of the meat sauce over the base of the lasagna dish and cover with one layer of lasagna. Then spread about 1/3 of the remaining meat sauce, followed by 1/3 of the bechamel sauce, and 1/3 of the mozzarella. Repeat the lasagna/meat/bechamel/cheese process until you have three layers. And remember it doesn't have to be perfect. Liberally sprinkle the final cheese layer with grated parmesan.

Bake in a moderate (180 C, 360 F) oven for about 40 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. If the top browns too quickly, loosely cover with aluminium foil. Let stand for 10 - 15 minutes before serving. I cut it into 12 serves; non dieters/diabetics usually make it 6 or 8.
Serve it with a side green salad. I freeze individual serves in plastic containers for later use. When re-heating, add a little water or chopped tomatoes and sprinkle some fresh cheese on the top.

Calories per serve: 350
Protein..............15gms
Total fat............21gms
Carbs................25gms (more than I thought when I worked it out - it's the milk and tomatos) Fibre.................1gm

Bon Appetit

Cheers, Alan

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