Thursday, June 14, 2007

Skinny Lasagne?

Whenever I make lasagne, I feel guilty as I turn the bechamel sauce (white sauce) into a sinful mornay sauce of melted mozzarella, cheddar and parmesan. So the other day I came up with a less sinful version by using only one layer of white sauce on top and substituting the sauce with eggplant/brinjals/aubergine (you can also add tomato slices). But beware, a sin is still a sin, big or small...


Skinny Lasagne

Bolognaise sauce
250g ready lasagne sheets
3 large eggplants
white sauce
grated mixture of cheddar and mozzarella

1. Cut the eggplant into large 3/4 cm slices and fry in a little oil till half done.

2. Grease a glass dish. Arrange a sheet of lasagne sheet in it (I prefer to boil mine but its more work. If you use the instant sheets, make sure you dash some low-fat milk over the veg layers). Cover the pasta sheet with a thin layer of bolognaise sauce. Place another layer of lasagne sheet over that, then arrange the fried eggplant over it, sprinkle with the cheese mixture and douse a tablespoon or two of skim milk over.

3. Continue till you run out of lasagne sheets. You end with a layer of lasagne sheets, then cover that with the white sauce and sprinkle grated parmesan all over.

4. Bake in oven at 200 c for 30 to 40 min. Instant lasagne sheets tend to expand, so tuck in the sides and corners when it comes out of the oven so the upper layer won't dry and curl up.

The bolognaise sauce below is 'healthier' and less 'grainy' by replacing half of the beef with pork/chicken and adding lots of veg. You can use skimmed or lowfat milk or omit milk altogether.

Bolognaise Sauce

1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, cut into small cubes
2 stalks celery, cut into small cubes
3 cloves garlic, minced
250g canned or fresh diced plum tomatoes
2 T tomato paste (optional)
250g lean pork, minced
250g lean ground beef
1 cup milk
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 t dry nutmeg
1/2 t dried basil or oregano (optional)
1 cups water + 1/2 beef stock cube or 1 cup chicken or beef stock
freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste

1. Fry the onions, carrots, celery and garlic in a little oil for 3 to 4 min.

2. Add the meat and stir to mix well. Add the tomatoes, then the remaining ingredients except the wine and simmer 20 min. Add the wine and simmer 10 to 15 min.

White Cheese Sauce

2 T ordinary flour
2 cups milk
1 T butter or olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
salt & pepper
1. Heat a small pot, melt the butter or add the oil. Throw in the flour, stir well under low heat till it clumps, stir another 1/2 min. Remove from heat and add 2 T milk, then 2 more, stirring well with a small whisk.

2. Put pot back to stove and stir in all the milk under low heat. Whisk well till sauce thickens. Add the cheese and season to taste.

Overall taste? Well, of course it'll taste better if you make it the traditional way with alternating layers of white cheese sauce. Frankly I don't know if this version is any less fattening because I still added the cheese with the eggplant...

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