Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Recipe CXXVIII - Lasagne rolls done two ways

Pasta is a very versatile food, and you can do many things with it, although as Italians still can't see past Artusi, they are stuck with an outdated recipe book, so it is up to us non-Italians to push ahead with new recipes and ideas. This one is an adaptation of a video I saw on the Internet. I didn't really like the recipe it proposed so I took it a step further and added some more ingredients.

You are making two kinds of rolls - one with ricotta and pesto, the other with mince and béchamel.


Lasagne sheets, 1 packet (other pasta as backup in case the lasagne sheets break up, which is not uncommon!)
1 jar of green pesto
1 tub of ricotta
Some grated mozzarella
350g minced beef
1 onion
4 cloves of garlic
Some fresh herbs
Some Cheddar, grated (other cheeses like Pecorino, Manchego or Gruyère will also do)
Ground black pepper
Olive oil
Butter, flour, nutmeg and milk (for the béchamel)
Tin foil for covering


Put your oven on to 200°C. Take your ricotta, pesto and a handful of mozzarella, and put them in a bowl. Mix well.

In the meantime, parboil some lasagne sheets one or two at a time. Don't do all, as they will stick to each other and become an unmitigated disaster. Take them out of the pan carefully making sure not to break them. If they split a little through the middle though, that's not a problem.

Lay them out one by one on a cutting board and paste the ricotta mixture over them. Then roll them up like a carpet and lay them in a baking tray with olive oil in the bottom.

Then take the mince, the onion, garlic and some black pepper and fry them in olive oil until the meat loses its red colouring. Add some grated Cheddar and the herbs to the mixture.  It is at this point you should make your béchamel. I won't insult your intelligence by telling you how to make that. Make quite a lot, as you will need it for later. Add some to the mince mixture and do the same - roll them up and put them on the baking tray.

They should look like this:

Take the rest of the béchamel and spread it on top of the rolls, then sprinkle over more grate mozzarella and Cheddar, plus some ground black pepper.

Cover the tray in tin foil, put it in the oven for 20 minutes and a further10 minutes uncovered.

The results are very satisfying indeed!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Recipe CXXVII - Spicy Lamb and Red Wine Pasta

I was thinking about what to cook today and I fancied something spicy without the tomato-based sauce and something saucy without the cream, so I whipped this one up - it's really easy to make and perfect for these cooler summer nights.

350g lamb, sliced into bite-size pieces
1 onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, diced
1 hot red chili pepper, cut into round slices
6 to 9 mushrooms, diced
7 to 10 small tomatoes, halved
12 to 15 black peppercorns, ground
2 sprigs each of fresh rosemary and oregano or thyme
1/3 of a bottle of wine
(I use Primitivo from Salerno usually, but in this case a nice Merlot is perfect)
350g pasta, either long or short
Salt to taste
Olive oil


Take the fresh herbs, black pepper, salt and a quarter of the diced onions and garlic, and mix them in a bowl with the lamb.

Rub it all well in to the meat to make sure the flavour takes hold.

Pour the red wine over the top of it and put it in the fridge for a while (minimum 30 minutes) until you are ready to cook.

Remove the lamb from the wine (it will have gone a darker shade of red now), but keep all ingredients.

Put the remaining onion, the red pepper, the mushrooms and the remaining garlic in a hot pan with a good dose of olive oil and stir-fry until they soften.

Remove as much from the pan as you can leaving the oil there (or top it up), and put in a bowl for a while,then fry the lamb in the flavoured oil.

Then add the other ingredients and fry for a further 2 to 4 minutes, before you pour the wine containing the herbs on top. While it is reducing and thickening a little (you can always add more red wine if necessary!), boil your pasta. Once the pasta is ready, mix it in with the sauce and serve while hot.