lasagne

This is how we make lasagne.
It’s easy and it doesn’t take all that long to make. We don’t like bechamel sauce, but we _do_ really like the layers of tofu – fu sucks up flavours. We occasionally replace the ‘fu with some home made cheese, but that’s an added layer of fuss. It’s also an added layer of dairy if you’re going vegan.
We make vegie lasagne because it’s nice. We have also discovered that simple is best – just like pizza.
1. Make some red sauce.
Get some chopped onions and make them transparent in a pan with some olive oil. Make some crushed garlic cook a bit. I add it after the onions are almost ready, because I hate the bitter taste of burnt garlic. I cook the garlic until it’s almost brown. If it’s not cooked enough it’s not sweet enough and it kind of boils in the red slop.
We like to brown some sliced mushrooms (button, swiss brown, whatevs). I take the onions out of the pan and do the mushrooms in the pan.
Add the canned tomatoes, or a bunch of fresh ones if they’re really really ripe and nice.
Add a can of brown lentils. These are really important – their nutty flavour is important. If you have some soaked and cooked dried ones on hand, use those. Red lentils are a bit dull – use the tastier ones. The French ones would be wicked.
Let it simmer for a while, til it gets thicker and richer. Add some scrumpled up fresh basil and some salt and pepper if you like.
2. Slice some pumpkin REALLY thinly.
3. Slice some firm tofu (not firm silken tofu, but actually quite firm tofu – firm like a wobbly cheese) about a centimetre thick, or as thin as you can get it.
4. Get some fresh baby spinach.
5. Get some lasagne sheets.
6. Layers, baby. Alternate the ingredients – tofu, red slop, lasagne, red slop, spinach, lasagne, red slop, pumpkin, lasagne, red slop, tofu, lasagne, red slop. I try to get the red slop directly onto the lasagne, because you need the moisture to cook the pasta. But the spinach is usually good enough, and has enough water in it to help make things moist and cook the pasta. If you’re making ‘real’ lasagne, lots of layers of pasta is good. But we tend to prefer the vegies to the pasta, so we don’t use as many layers – maybe 5.
7. The final layer should be a layer of pasta. I then add a layer of thinly sliced fresh tomatoes and shredded fresh basil. Then I grate some cheese onto that. But not heaps and heaps of cheese, because it’s very rich. I use something tasty – the point isn’t a melty mass (like you might get with a mozzarella), but a crispy or tasty layer. It’s cool to skip this layer if you’re going vegan – the tomatoes and basil will be nice enough without it. I like the cheese, but the Squeeze doesn’t like it when it gets really crispy.
8. Cook it for a long time in the oven. It takes ages, usually an hour. You know it’s cooked when you can push a skewer in easily. You want the pasta cooked al dente, or to your taste. We like it pretty well cooked.

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