I wrote in the past about some hake kebabs that arrived on my plate - and your screen - courtesy of The Queen. What you might not know is that she regularly cooks up pretty impressive stuff. After hustling me for the first 2 years (when I was convinced all she could do was a roast chicken) the cat is now very much out the bag. The girl has skizzills. This recipe is hers and I'll admit it is one of my favourite on this blog. The white sauce was homemade but it's not really necessary - you could easily just buy one.
Stuff you'll need to feed 8 (or 2 of you. Umm...4 times):
- 1 kg of ostrich mince
- A box of the best lasagne sheets you can find.
- 1 x onion, finely chopped
- 2 x tins of tomatoes
- A handful of parsley, roughly chopped
- About a tablespoon of tomato paste
- About a teaspoon of dried thyme
- A handful of mixed mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1 x chilli, finely chopped
- 2 x cloves of garlic, crushed
- A handful of grated parmesan (I don't mean buy grated parmesan. Please, don't ever do that. Buy proper parmesan, grate it yourself. Come now)
To make the white sauce (if you are backing yourself):
- 1 and a half tablespoons of butter
- About 3 tablespoons of flour (to start with. You might need more as you go)
- A litre of fat-free milk (we were keeping it healthy. Use whatever milk you want)
Okay, what to do:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. Gently fry your onions over medium heat for a few minutes until softened.
2. Add the thyme, the chilli, the mince, the garlic and the mushrooms and fry for a few minutes more.
3. Add the tomato paste, the tinned tomatoes and the parsley and bring to the boil. Season well, reduce heat and allow to simmer with the lid on for as long as possible. Depending on the time available, remove lid and allow sauce to reduce and thicken.
4. In a suitable baking dish, layer white sauce, pasta sheets and mince mixture, repeating two or three times until the dish is full. Make sure the top layer is white sauce.
5. Sprinkle grated cheese over the top and bake for 45 minutes.
If you're making the white sauce:
Start by melting the butter. Remove from stove and start adding flour slowly mixing in to form little dough balls. Make sure flour is covered in butter. Slowly start adding your milk, continuously whisking. As the milk warms, the mixture will thicken. IT IS SUPER-IMPORTANT TO CONTINUE TO WHISK THE ENTIRE TIME. If you don't, lumps will form. This is a slow process so be patient. You might need to add some more flour at this point - if you do make sure the whisking doesn't stop.
I'd serve this with a very simple herb salad. That was the plan. That was also the plan for the shoot, but when I put it on a white plate there was something about the simplicity of it that appealed. I loved it. Hopefully you do too.