Prep Time +- 1 hour, incl. resting time for lasagne
Cooking Time +- 1 hour
Serving portion 4-6 people
1 box of lasagne sheets
Olive oil as needed – but you can use a different type of oil if you do not have olive oil on hand
2 cans chopped Italian tomatoes
2 tsp garlic
2 tsp dried herbs of your choice – I used oregano
1.5 kg pre-packed Mediterranean vegetables (found in the fresh veggie section, or in the frozen food section)
Optional: about 100 – 150g ricotta cheese, crumbled
Grated mozzarella for topping
Pinch of paprika
Salt & pepper to taste
1. Roast your veggies for the lasagne:
Preheat oven to 180°C. Chop up veggies into smaller pieces. I made mine about 2-3cm thick. Lay out your chopped vegetables on a baking sheet, toss with 1 tsp of the garlic, olive oil, paprika, salt & pepper. Roast in oven for about 30 minutes, or until vegetables are done. It’s perfectly okay if they develop a slight char, as long as they are cooked all the way through.
2. While your veggies are roasting, prepare the tomato-based sauce:
Coat a saucepan with olive oil and fry the remainder of the garlic on medium heat for a minute. Empty in the canned tomatoes and mixed herbs, then reduce heat to low-medium, and allow to simmer until reduced by about ¼. Do not stress if it is still slightly liquid in consistency – the lasagne sheets will soak this up! Season to taste once done and set aside.
3. Stack your lasagne:
Combine the veggies and ricotta cheese together in a bowl. While the sauce is still hot, line a medium to large casserole dish with a layer of the tomato sauce, about 1 cm thick. Place lasagne sheets over this layer to cover the bottom of the dish. Pour another ½ cm layer of tomato sauce over this, ensuring that you generously coat the entire surface area of the lasagne sheets. Spread a layer of your roasted veggies upon this, and thereafter pour some more sauce over (also about ½ cm). Repeat this process until you almost reach the top of the dish. The top-most layer should just be a layer of lasagne sheet coated in a cm of sauce, with a splash of olive oil. Cover the casserole dish with foil and allow to sit for half an hour. During this time, the lasagne sheets will soak up the sauce and soften – with this method, there is no need to parboil them J
4. Pop the lasagne in the oven!
After resting time, place the covered casserole dish in the oven for a further 20 minutes. Remove from oven and take off the foil covering. Cover with mozzarella cheese and bake in oven on the grill seating for another 5-10 minutes. The cheese should be bubbling with a nice golden crust when it’s ready.
Photography: Francis Gersbach (IG: @francis_gersbach)
Indeed, a great deal of time has passed since I last left my mark on this space. Time is not forgiving to any of us, and, as the age-old adage proclaims, “time is money!”
Initially, I started up this site with no end-goal in mind. I simply wanted to write, and to photograph, and to document a few things that I love online. Eventually, I had lost so much of time with studies and other work, that my online voice had grown silent.
And now, I have a total of 21 days worth of time…
At the present, the South African national lockdown has left many citizens feeling worried about what they are going to do to pass their time, which I totally related to for a bit. I mulled over what I would do at home for such an extended period, all the while understanding how deeply important that this lockdown is for our country and the populace’s safety.
But then, a little inspirational birdie urged me to utilize my time in uploading more content. And suddenly, the most wonderful idea was conceived – since South Africans would be unable to use food delivery services owing to the closure of food establishments, everybody would be forced to cook on a daily basis, sometimes more than once a day.
Some limiting factors further constricting our choices would be –
- creativity in figuring out what to prepare daily
- being able to construct meals which taste good and tote nutritious value
- the fact that only products and food to be considered “essential goods” would be sold during the 21-day period
- any dietary restrictions
- the items we value the most and therefore keep on hand in the kitchen
- the nearest store’s capacity for carrying a wider variety of “essential goods”
- level of experience in the kitchen
- our budgetary requirements (meh!)
Taking into account the above, I have decided to diarize my meals and publish kitchen tips as often as possible over these 21 days.
The segments will include recipes, takeaway or restaurant-style meals for those craving, and some of my succinct shopping lists linked to recipes (limit your time at the supermarkets, everybody!).
I encourage those who read these posts to comment on them with relevant kitchen tips and information to add constructive value.
My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Stay safe, exercise due caution, respect your fellow human beings, and abide by the state’s regulations.
I do hope that you have a happy time cooking with me over long-distance!