This year I called up the homeless shelter before their christmas lunch to find out if there was anything they wanted me to make for them. After a few ermm's and oooo's they asked me to make a vegetarian dish for a few of the guests, something simple that everyone would eat.
A vegeterian dish is a rarity in my house, my brother and dad kick up a fuss if one is ever made with the whole, "we are men, we need meat" line of argument.
There is only one 'lady dish' they like, lasagne.
Comforting, home-cooked, extra cheesy and you can manage to sneak some veggies in there.
Real comfort food.
So i'll let you in on my recipe.
For one of my big portions you'll need...
15-20 Fresh sheets of pasta
200g mozzarella ball sliced
100g fresh parmesan
100g of cheddar cheese grated
Oil for frying
1 onions finely chopped
250g of tinned chopped tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1 carrot, courgette, aubergine and red pepper chopped finely
2 handfulls of plum tomatoes
Sage, oregano and black pepper
For the cream sauce:
1 litre of milk
100g of butter
80g of flour
125ml of double cream
In my family this would feed 4-5, but you could definitely get 6-7 out of this, if you want to add mince I'd recommend asking your butcher to mince it for you and you'll need 250g.
Start by pre-heating your oven to 180g, If you can't get your hands on fresh lasagne sheets simmer them for a few minutes before as you want them to be soft. Coat your saucepan with oil and place your garlic, onions, carrots, courgettes, aubergines and peppers in. Leave on a simmer for 5-10 minutes, place your plum tomatoes in, and push them down with your frying pan to let the juices spread and add your tinned tomatoes. Leave to simmer for 15 minutes with occasional stirring.
For your cream sauce - the easiest cream sauce ever! Place all your ingredients into a big saucepan, mix and simmer for 10 minutes getting rid of any lumps.
And now for the layering process, your ratio of cream sauce to tomatoe sauce is as you please, I like lots of tomatoe on the base and lots of cream and cheese on the top. Start with a thin layer of tomatoe sauce, then your lasagne slices, then cream sauce as so on... Around 4 layers of lasagne is optimal! Cover in cream sauce and your three cheeses, pop in the oven for 30 minutes covered and 10 minutes uncovered, until bubbling and golden on top.
I couldn't cut it open but I wish I had made more for myself.
Wrapped up and delivered, I hope they like it!