Pasta Free Butternut Squash and Beef Lasagne

Having some lean beef mince and a butternut squash to be used, I decided to create this pasta-free lasagne recipe. It’s also my WordPress anniversary today, hurray! So I gift you all this lovely creation as a celebration 🙂

Packed full of flavour, this lasagne is layered with slices of butternut squash between a mince sauce packed with sage, a deliciously cheesy and creamy white sauce speckled with nutmeg, and a sprinkling of pine nuts to finish.

This started off as a bit of a “let’s hope this works!” but turned out amazingly! I hope you enjoy it…

Ingredients (serves 4-5)

  • 1 medium to large butternut squash
  • Pine nuts (two handfuls)

Mince sauce:

  • 1 x 400g pack of lean beef mince
  • 1 x tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 x red onions
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic (depending on how big your cloves are and how garlicky you like it!)
  • 2 x tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 1 x glass of red wine
  • 2-3 tps of dried sage, or a small bunch of chopped fresh sage
  • Salt and pepper

White sauce:

  • 85g butter
  • 85g plain flour
  • 750ml semi-skimmed milk
  • Grated cheddar cheese, a couple of big handfuls
  • 1 heaped tsp grated nutmeg

Method:

The first big job to do is tackle the peeling of the butternut squash! I find it easiest to cut in half first before peeling or simply cutting off the skins with a sharp knife. Once all the skin is removed, cut into thin slices.

Pasta Free Lasagne

After this it’s time to make the mince sauce. Brown off the mince in a large saucepan and then add the chopped garlic and onions to give them a bit of colour, and then add the red wine, tomatoes, tomato puree and let it simmer away and reduce for about 10-15 minutes. Add the seasoning and the sage to taste, simmer for a few more minutes before taking off the heat and setting to one side.

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Now you can make your lovely cheesy white sauce infused with nutmeg! Gently melt the butter in a pan and once melted whisk in the flour, then once combined, slowly pour in the milk whilst constantly whisking to get rid of any lumps. Keep whisking until you feel it thicken to a good consistency, then add the cheese and nutmeg and whisk until fully combined. Take off the heat.

It’s now my favourite (and definitely the most fun!) part, it’s layering time!

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Get a nice big dish, I opted for a nice heart shaped one, and start your layers! Firstly a layer of the mince sauce, followed by the butternut squash and topped with the cheesy white sauce. Repeat until you run out, ending with a white sauce layer. Top this final layer with some more grated cheese and the pine nuts for a lovely finish!

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Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees celsius for 40-50 minutes until bubbling and browned on top, then dig in! 😀

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North African Lamb Feast

Home made sauces and dips with marinated lamb chops, served with home made flat breads – the taste of Morocco and perfect with a glass of Pimms in the sun.

Ingredients:

For the Spicy Hummus: 200g chickpeas, 2tb lemon juice, 2 garlic cloves, 1tb cumin, sesame seeds, 1tsp turmeric, 2tb oil, 1tsp paprika, splash of water (tahini – if you have!), seasoning,

For the Tzatziki: 1 cup Greek yoghurt, 1 cup sour cream, peeled and diced cucumber ,  fresh dill, 3tb olive oil, 1tb vinegar, 2 cloves garlic,  ,seasoning, mint leaves

For the Lamb: 6-8 lamb chops, dried mint, rosemary, seasoning, garlic and a good glug of olive oil.

For the Flat Breads: 200g plain flour, 1tb cumin, 1tb sesame seeds, 1tb coriander, pinch of salt and water to bind

Method:

Start with marinading the lamb overnight – put all the ingredients for the marinade in a large dish and rub all over the lamb to make sure it all gets a good covering! Plenty of seasoning, rosemary, garlic and dried mint all bought together with some good quality olive oil. Then you can make the dips.

For the Hummus – simple as whacking it in a blender! Add extra to taste, smooth out with a fork or spoon and serve with a sprinkle of paprika, chickpeas and cooked peppers to top.

For the Tzatziki – mix together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl and whisk together the yoghurt and sour cream. Add both mixes together and mix well. Finally, add the cucumber and chopped fresh dill. Chill for at least two hours before serving and serve with mint leaves as garnish.

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Seal the meat for a minute on each side and put in the oven for 20 minutes (around 200).

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In the mean time, in a small amount of olive oil fry off the Pine Nuts on a low heat. When brown, squeeze over some fresh lemon juice and serve with slices of lemon.

Whilst I did this, Abi made the Flat Breads  Simply mix together all the dry ingredients then add water, a little at a time, until combined to form a firm dough. Cut into 6/8 small balls and flatten out thinly with a rolling pin. Then cook in a very hot, dry, non-stick pan until start they start to go brown and puff up, then they are ready. We cut ours up into little pockets and strips.

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Take out the lamb and leave to stand for a few minutes, whilst you get the table ready… This tasted wonderful when having a little helping of everything together in the still warm flat breads, enjoy!
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