I would be lying to you if I said that I didn’t LOVE carbohydrates. I’m not fussy when it comes to this food group: delicious, warm crusty bread, an ice cold, crisp glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a slab of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (I can sometimes be a cheap date!), a crispy baked potato, oozing with butter and filled with baked beans and the strongest cheddar cheese I can lay my hands on, or some sort of pasta dish – I’ll take any of them; when it comes to this food group, I’m not at all discerning! One of my favourite Saturday night suppers in London was the divine Marks & Spencer’s “Lasagne Al Forno”, which sadly cannot be bought in India. Now, whilst I love carbohydrates, they DO NOT reciprocate their love. Unwilling to give up my fix of lasagne, I needed to be creative and come up with a low carb version, which still satisfied my taste buds, but without the high carb content. After a bit of playing around, this recipe definitely gave me the taste I was after, but without the 47g of carbs in one of serving of the M&S offering. Serve with a large salad, and if you’re not a carb watcher, a large hunk of garlic bread.
Serves: 4, or 2 greedy people!
- 2tbsp of olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, finely chopped
- 200g of button mushrooms, finely sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 500g of minced beef
- 2tbsp of worcester sauce
- 2tbsp of tomato puree
- 1tbsp of Italian dried herbs
- 100ml of red wine
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 75ml milk
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 40g of butter
- 40g of plain flour
- 400ml of milk
- 100g of strong cheddar cheese, grated
- Pinch of grated nutmeg
- 1 courgette (zucchini),
- 50g of parmesan cheese, finely grated
- Pre-heat the oven 180C.
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium to high heat.
- Add in the onions and fry until the onion is just starting to brown. Add in the garlic and continue frying for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the carrots and mushrooms in and fry for a further 3 minutes.
- Make a well in the middle of the pan and add in the beef, use your spoon/spatula to break it up.
- Once all broken-up, mix in with the contents of the rest of the pan.
- Pop in the tomato puree and Italian herbs and stir in thoroughly.
- Carry on stirring until all the beef is browned.
- Pour in the wine, mix it in and let it cook until all the alcohol has burned off.
- Next, add in the tinned tomatoes and combine with the other ingredients. Simmer over a low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, whilst constantly stirring before adding in the milk and giving a good stir. Season as necessary
- To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan.
- Add the flour and stir until it forms a paste. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes over a medium heat.
- Take the saucepan off the heat and add in about half the milk, whisking as you pour it in to prevent any lumps forming.
- Add the rest of the milk and put it back on the heat and constantly whisk. The sauce will thicken up quite a bit.
- Once the sauce is nice and thick, sprinkle in the ground nutmeg and cheddar cheese and continue to stir until all the cheese has melted.
- Take a vegetable peeler and peel the courgette. Still using the vegetable peeler, create long ribbons of the courgette and place to one side.
- Take your dish that you’re going to use (I use this 20cm one from John Lewis) and cover the bottom of it with a good thick layer of the meat sauce.
- Next, put a layer of the courgettes. Make sure that all the meat is covered.
- Now, pour on a layer of the cheese sauce. Keep repeating until all the meat and cheese sauces have been used up. You want the top layer to be a layer of the cheese sauce. I normally get around 3 layers of each in.
- On top of the final layer of the cheese sauce, sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese and pop in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it’s golden brown on top.
Domestic Princess tips
- If making this for fussy little ones, omit the mushrooms and grate the onion and carrot, so they become undetectable.
- If you want to make this a more luxurious dish, swap half the milk for double cream.
- Not a low-carber? Then you’ll need approximately 6 lasagne sheets. I recommend the ones that don’t need any preparation – you just pop them on dry and in the oven it all goes.
- The Domestic Prince is a massive cheese fan, so if I’m feeling particularly fond of him when I’m making this, I’ll sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of each layer of the cheese sauce, to make it extra cheesy!
- If not using the cheese sauce immediately, put some cling film directly on top of the sauce to prevent a skin forming.
- When making this dish, I always make a double quantity of the cheese sauce and freeze it to use at a later date.
Do you love carbs like me, or can you take them, or leave them? Do you follow a low-carb eating plan?
With much love
The Domestic Princess