Popeye Lasagna (with Olive Oil!)
I tried to make the lasagna a little bit leaner (ha!) by only including two layers of pasta. I also left out the cheese from the white sauce – which made no difference to the flavour so I won’t bother in future – and used a small square of hard cheese rather than cheddar for the crispy topping. Again, no discernible taste difference but a substantial saving in terms of fat and probably cost too.
The basic bechamel sauce doesn’t really vary, but everyone has their preferable way of making the tomato sauce.
My sauce was quickly cooked up while TLM played football, and what a furtive little tomato sauce it turned out to be. I wanted to include a few ‘mutant’ peppers (i.e. the squat, piebald ones in those big bags) rather than chucking them as TLM would have preferred. I cooked down an onion and a small amount of lean steak mince in olive oil and a pinch of salt, then added the peppers and passata. I added some black pepper and, feeling like an accomplished TV chef made use of a bunch of fresh basil and oregano I had rather than dried herbs. It was all I could do to stop myself doing a faux piece-to-camera. But I then did the dirty. I reached into the cupboard and sloshed in Worcestershire sauce. I was obviously having to do penance for the fresh herbs. Then something possessed me and I stirred in some beef gravy granules. I don’t know why. But I won’t apologise for it because it made the sauce awesome. It beefed and thickened up the sauce in a magical instant. This is what has been missing from my tomato sauce until this point. I haven’t told TLM yet.
p.s. I’ve always wondered about lasagna/lasagne – apparently the former is singular, the latter plural. That’s my newly learnt thing of the day then!