Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Savoury Baked Casseroles


Think baking and the dishes that come to mind are often cakes, cookies and sweet things. Casseroles are a traditional method of winter cooking in many parts of the world including France and the Southern States parts of the USA like Texas and Mississippi. Casseroles, are so named because of the dish they are baked in and are basically dishes that are assembled and the baked in the oven. They usually consist of ingredients such as meat, chopped vegetables, starchy binders such as flour, rice, tortillas, potatoes or pasta cheese all flavoured with herb and spices. Sometimes liquid in the form of stock, wine, beer gin, cider, or vegetable juice may also be added after assembling the dish. Casseroles aim at getting all the food groups in one dish and may be served as a main course or a side dish, often in the vessel in which they were cooked. Casseroles are usually cooked slowly in the oven, often uncovered.

Spicy Lasagna 2 ways a la Natures Basket                                                                                           
Ingredients
12 lasagna sheets
Ina Parmans Cheese sauce (or white sauce from recipe below)
1 portion either Spicy Mince or Vegetarian filling (recipes below)
or ½ cup Mozarella grated
¼ cup Parmesan cheese

For Spicy Mince filling
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
Whole spices - 1 bay leaf, 3 cloves, 8 Peppercorns
1 large onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp red chilli flakes
1 tbsp oregano
200 g Lamb or chicken mince + 100g smoked bacon, chopped fine (optional) OR 300g Mince.
500ml bottle ready tomato Pasta sauce
1 Salt to taste
½ tsp Garam masala to finish

Spicy Vegetarian filling
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
2 green chillies chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp Keya green or white pepper corns freshly crushed
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 carrots, diced fine
2 green bell peppers, chopped fine
2 small zucchini, diced fine
1 head fresh broccoli, cut into tiny florets (dice stems fine)
1 cube riso gallo organic veg stock
250 ml ready tomato Pasta sauce
1 Salt to taste

White sauce
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 tbsp Olive oil/Butter
3 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Method:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
To make Spicy Mince Filling - Heat oil in a pan add the garlic, whole spices, chilli flakes and oregano. Saute for 30 seconds. Add onions and sauté for 2 minutes. A mince and saute for 10 minutes or until mince has let out juices and dried up. Stir in Pasta sauce and mix well. Cook till oil seperates. Add a little water if the mixture is too dry. Set aside.
To make Spicy Vegetarian Filling - To make Vegetarian Filling - Heat oil in a pan add the chillies, garlic, pepper and oregano. Sauter for 1 min add carrots, onions, bell peppers and zucchini and Stock cube. Saute for 6-7 minutes till soft and tender. Stir in tomato pasta sauce. And cook till oil rises to the top. Stir in Broccoli (the heat is enough to cook the broccoli). Set aside.

To make White sauce - Combine all the ingredients and place in a medium saucepan. Whisk well until well blended. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes, or until thick, stirring constantly. (Mixture should resemble pancake batter)

To assemble Lasagna - Soak 12 lasagna pasta sheets in hot water for 15 minutes. Grease a 9X13 baking pan or casserole with a little butter or olive oil. (or adjust layers according to your pan.)  Spread 1/3 of either the spicy vegetable or spicy mince filling on the bottom of the pan. Place 6 of the softened Lasagna sheets over the filling. Top with half of the white sauce over the layer of pasta sheets. Spread 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese over the white sauce layer. Sprinkle half of the Parmesan cheese over the mozzarella layer. Spread 1/3 of either the Spice vegetable or Spicy mince filling over the cheese layer. Lay out the remaining 6 softened pasta sheets. Spread the remaining  white sauce over pasta layer. Spread the rest of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over white sauce, saving a little of the cheese for the top of the lasagna. Put the last 1/3 filling over the cheeses. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven at 180 degress Centigrade for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered for another 15-20 till cheese on top is nicely browned. Cool for approximately 10 minutes before serving.


Also you can buy white butter online from Natures Basket store at best prices!! 

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