I’ve made this dish for a lighter version of a very old friend.. Lasagna!
We LOVE lasagna.. Actually we love lasagnette.. But pasta is kind of a no go in this household at the moment, so I went to another old and dear friend. The potato.
We love potatoes! Actually, my Husband loves potatoes. I’ve mentioned before: My husband likes classic Danish Cuisine. The definition of Danish food is potatoes. Not sweet potatoes like the Americans. Nope! We like white or yellow potatoes here! We love to boil them, and boiled potatoes with brown sauce is used with all kinds of meat in Denmark. You’ll see much more of that in the future on the blog.
What I was saying: We love potatoes and we put potatoes in everything. Now including Lasagna.
I must warn you though: You won’t fool anyone! This is not a Lasagna. We could choose to reefer to this dish as “unmashed Shepards Pie”, that would be just as accurate. Pasta is pasta, and potatoes aren’t gonna fool anyone. That being said, this is still very delicious, and you should make it! Tonight!
Check out the super fancy printable PDF I made just to make life easier!
The recipe is as follows, for a 4 person serving:
3 cloves of garlic
500 gram of ground beef
1 can of chopped tomatoes (400 g/14 oz)
1 140 gram can of tomato paste
2,5 dl (1 cup) of water
½ beef boullion cube
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
½ tsp rosemary
2 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
10 boiled potatoes cut into 5 mm – 1 cm thick slices
1 beef mozzarella sliced thinly
Optional goodness: 1 cup/2,5 dl cottage cheese
How to make the lasagna sauce:
1. Chop onions and garlic finely.
2. Roast the onions on a non-stick pan for about 5 minutes.
2b. If you want to add leek or celery add them simultaneously with the onions.
3. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
4. Add the ground beef and cook until there is no more red meat left. Make sure to separate the meat thoroughly.
4b. If you want to add carrots, peppers, corn ect. add them now.
5. Add the canned tomatoes and let it cook for 3 minutes while stirring
6. Add the tomato puree, water and bouillon cube an all the seasonings.
7. Let it simmer and reduce for about 20 minutes.
7b: If you want to add peas or canned beans, add them in the end, so they won’t boil out completely.
The art of lasagna-assembly:
Choose your dish. Mine was a 20*30 cm (8*11 inches) dish. It Could be a squared 9*9 or what ever you have on hand. Just don’t choose a dish much bigger than mine.
If your dish is non-stick you don’t have to spray it – else do!
Now you start with a thin layer of the potatoes.
On top of that you put your sauce and cottage cheese if you want that.
Just repeat this until you run out of stuff. For me, I had enough for 4 layers of potatoes and 3 thin (!) layers of sauce.
If you use cottage cheese I suggest you make just 1 or 2 layers of that.
It doesn’t matter what is on top. If you run out of sauce first, top with potatoes, if opposite, that will work as well. My 10 potatoes was plenty, so I start and end with potatoes, but that is not a necessity.
Time to bake the lasagna:
Bring the oven to 175°C/350°F. When it’s hot, place the lasagna in the middle of the oven. 10 minutes before the family is ready to eat, take out the lasagna and put the mozzarella slices on top and put it back in the oven. If you are comfortable with your broiler, it is a nice finish to brown the cheese for a couple of minutes. My oven have a bipolar broiler, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. So, obviously I can tell you – browned cheese is optional. Unfortunately that means, I can’t help you with your broiler questions, I’m sorry.
This dish is very easy to make fit your schedule. Since everything is cooked in the pan it doesn’t need a lot of time in the oven, but on the other hand, it won’t turn bad, if it stays in the oven a little longer. If you are very busy hold back on about half the water, that way you won’t need to let it simmer for 20 minutes.
Yesterday, when I made this, I prepared the lasagna sauce, assembled it and stored it in the fridge for 4 hours. Then, when it was time for dinner, I turned on the oven, and baked it. I was gonna bake it for 20 minutes, but due to bad scheduling, we weren’t ready to eat after that time, so after 40 minutes in the oven we were ready with the table set and a quick salad, and we added the mozzarella slices and baked for another 10 minutes. This meal is ready when you are, not the other way around.
Tonight we are going to reheat the leftovers in the oven. After 20-30 minutes it bubbles and is ready to eat. For a quick single serving you can reheat your portion in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Just, PLEASE cover it or it will make a big hot mess!
The issue of making food healthier:
And I know this lasagna isn’t particularly healthy or anything. The recipe is as basic as it gets. I did this because I want you to make this the way you like it. I like it with my veggies on the side in a nice salad, but that’s not for everyone, and you can literally add in any vegetable. In the recipe, I have shown where to add different kinds of veggies, so you can make this healthier.
Just one thing, that you should remember is, that vegetables contain water, and that means, the dish needs to simmer for longer or you should cut down on the water you are adding. But other than that, you are free to do anything you like.
I’ll admit I went “light” on my cheese products. I really don’t taste a difference so I save the calories. And I know there is like a thousand opinions on the light cheese area so I’m just gonna allow you to be the king of your grocery list and get the fat percentage you like! You could even substitute some of the water for milk if you are one of those dairy loving people who is still alive.
A couple of extra tips:
Make sure your potatoes are cold, or they will be difficult to cut. The easiest way is to cut the potato slices BEFORE boiling them, so please do yourself the favor and remember that. I tend to forget that, and it calls for an unnecessary mess that I don’t like all that much.
If you have 5-7 potatoes left from yesterdays dinner, that will be enough! You can leave out the first and last layer of potato, and it will still be great, actually it won’t make any difference taste-wise, there will simply just be a little less food for everyone.
Compared to a normal lasagna, the sauce should be a lot thicker here. Since pasta absorbs a lot of water and boiled potatoes don’t this sauce shall have the thickness that you want on your plate before you take it off the stove.