If you find you often have half the footy team over after training and need to feed a crowd without a lot of fuss, lasagne is the answer. You can make this beautiful chunky, vegetable packed bolognese sauce in advance if need be, and by using fresh lasagne sheets, you cut the cooking time right down to less than half an hour.
Jo Whitton of Quirky Cooking is one of my absolute favourite Thermomixing geniuses – and we love her bolognese recipe in our home. Of course, if you don’t have a Thermomix you can easily use a food processor or your knife skills to cut all the vegetables very fine and cook this recipe on the stove top.
Tweak the recipe to suit your taste, you’ll note that it does contain sugar – it’s needed to balance the acidity. The Bechamel sauce is super silky, but be warned, it’s hard to resist the temptation of constantly taste testing along the way. The fresh lasagne sheets aren’t listed below, but don’t forget you’ll need a packet of them!
1 large brown onion, halved
3 cloves of garlic
30g olive oil
500g vine-ripened tomatoes, halved
150g carrots, quartered
1 celery stick, quartered – include leaves
100g zucchini, quartered
half a red capsicum (optional)
a large handful of fresh basil, oregano and a sprinkle of rosemary leaves (or 2 tsp of dried Italian herb mix)
400g minced beef
100g thickly sliced mushrooms
120g tomato paste
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp raw sugar
2 tbsp vegetable stock paste
50g of wine or water
- Chop onion and garlic on speed 5/3 seconds.
- Add the olive oil and cook 3 minutes/100°/Reverse/Speed 1.
- Add all your vegetables and herbs to the bowl and chop roughly 8 seconds/speed 5 – chop a second or two longer for more finely grated vegetables.
- Add the remaining ingredients (minced beef, mushrooms, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, sugar, stock paste and water or wine) and cook for 30 minutes/100°/Reverse/Speed soft.
- Set bolognese aside and wash your Thermomix bowl for the Bechamel sauce!
Bechamel sauce ingredients
90g plain flour
750ml full cream milk
1 tsp salt
white pepper to taste
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of onion powder
150g grated cheese
Bechamel sauce method
- Put all ingredients, except the cheese, in the Thermomix bowl and cook 7 minutes/90°/speed 4. (If making on the stove, melt butter in a large saucepan and add flour. Cook, stirring for a minute or two before gradually whisking in the milk. Continue to stir until thickened, then add remaining ingredients.)
- Add the cheese and cook for a further 4 minutes/90°/speed 4.
- Spoon enough of the bolognese sauce into the bottom of your baking dish to cover the surface – this prevents your pasta from sticking to the dish.
- Layer pasta sheets to cover the surface (you may have to cut them to fit), spoon more bolognese over the top, followed by a smattering of Bechamel sauce. Continue this process until the top layer – until you use up your pasta sheets or fill your dish, leaving room at the top as it will grow a little during cooking.
- Dieters look away now, for the last (top) layer, use the last of the Bechamel sauce to spread all over and top with grated cheese. You don’t want to have any pasta exposed as it will dry out in the oven!
- Cook in a preheated 200°C oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly on top. Let it rest for five minutes before serving.
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