Now that autumn is here I am starting to think about comfort foods and having tea under a blanket. But with the winter comes as well the heavy clothes and more importantly the long hours at work that never seem to end. I leave home when it’s dark and I get home when it’s dark. It’s depressing to say the least. So here is a quick dish, easy to make and so deliciously good! Sometimes you just want a lasagna (lasagne or whatever you want to call it) but just thinking about the pasta sheets and the whole fuss it makes me reconsider. I love béchamel and making it makes me feel all warm inside but you can use a jar sauce for this to speed things up. You could as well use a ricotta mixture on the top. Same thing for the meat sauce, you could just brown some meat and use a sauce jar or you could even replace it with some veggies. I love zucchini, squash and aubergine all cut in little pieces and cooked in the tomato sauce with a little bit of garlic.
I cook meat in advance over the weekend so I have things to cook quickly during the week, but really, how long will it take you to cook some mince meat? 20-min tops and then putting it all in the oven, another 20. There you go, dinner in 40min! (Probably a little bit more if you have a glass of wine at the same time).
This recipe is for 4 – 6 depending how hungry you are. It keeps well in the fridge in a Tupperware for a few days.
Here is what you need:
- 500g mince beef
- 1clove of garlic
- 300ml of tomato passata
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp of dry oregano
- 400g capelli di angello pasta (spaghetti but thinner, if you can’t find it, spaghetti is fine)
- Cheese to sprinkle on top
For the béchamel:
- 30g butter
- Plain flour
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- Salt to season
Pre heat the oven at 200 degrees (180FAN).
If you are making the bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a pan and then add enough flour to make a loose paste. Once it is all mixed up, add half the milk and when the sauce starts getting thicker add the other half of the milk, season and add the nutmeg. Let it thicken up again, season if needed and put on the side.
Cook the meat and add the garlic and the tomato sauce with the herbs and bay leaf.
Once it is cooked, take the bay leaf out and set aside. Cook the pasta 2 minutes under than what it says in the bag. When it is cooked, keep a cup of the cooking water and split the pasta in 2.
At the bottom of the baking dish add half a cup of cooking water and some of the tomato sauce. Add the pasta on top and then all of the meat sauce. On top create another layer with the pasta, pour the béchamel on top and sprinkle the cheese. Bake at 200 degrees for 20 minutes so the top is crunchy.
Let me know what you think in the comments below or you can tweet me at @hungrylittleone. Check my instagram to see what goes on in my kitchen!