I like to keep things simple and even more so in this blazing heat. I made this dish for dinner last night and what I loved most about it that in spite of the dish looking and sounding so complicated, it was quite easy to make. This is how it worked for me - I kept my mince meat in the pressure cooker on one burner, was rolling my lasagna sheets and simultaneously boiling them in a pan on the second burner and getting my white sauce ready on the third burner - And by the end of it, I actually felt like a super woman!!
The trick was that I prepared my pasta dough the night before, so in the morning it was well rested and ready to roll. As I was using the mince meat to just layer in between the pasta sheets, it didn't need hard-core cooking but just needed to be pressure cooked and then the water to be dried (not to endlessly bhuno like in an Indian dish). The best part is that for seasoning the mince meat, I just emptied one and a half packet of Maggi Bhuna masala in the meat and nothing else!! No ginger, No garlic, No added masalas!! NO, not even a drop of oil!! The ready made masala had enough oil of its own. The masala actually worked like magic!! Just boiled the whole thing together till the water dried up and with just a little sprinkling of dried rosemary,my filling was ready and it tasted so good. The entire dish was licked up clean!!
With everything ready, all you have to do now is assemble your dish. Didn't I tell you it was really simple ?
I used the 'Maggi Bhuna Masala' for the first time and that too in a continental dish. Contrary to what I had thought, I was surprised to find the flavors really subtle, unlike so many other ready made masalas, which come out tasting artificial and awfully tangy, leaving a distinct after taste. Here, in this dish, it was hard to tell that the flavors had come out of a packet, they were so good. As for the pasta, have the dough ready at night, so in the morning you just have to roll the sheets out and boil them. Please don't skip this part and reach out for store bought pasta!! I can tell you there is a world of difference between the store bought and freshly made pasta. Once you start making pasta at home, you will find it so easy, convenient, economic and of course healthy, you will think twice before buying a packet of pasta from the stores.
So, what are you waiting for ? Try it out as here's a complex dish I made really simple for you!!
For the lasagna sheets
300 gms plain flour
3 large eggs
30 ml olive oil
a pinch of salt
For the filling
500 gms minced meat (keema)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp dried rosemary.
11/2 packet Maggi Bhuna Masala
1 cup Cheese sauce
50 gms Mozzarella cheese, grated
To prepare your pasta dough:
In a food processor blend all the ingredients until the mixture begins to form a ball. At this time, if you find the dough a little dry add a tablespoon or two of water. Take it out on a lightly floured surface and knead the dough until smooth and elastic, for about 8-10 minutes. Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and keep in the fridge to rest.
In the morning, take the dough and cut it into four pieces. (If you don't have a pasta machine, don't worry!! It's not the end of the world. I have one and still haven't as yet mastered its use). So go ahead, dust your work surface with flour and roll it out into thin round sheets using a rolling pin. (I rolled the sheets round as I was using a round dish, you can cut them according to the size of your dish). Boil lots of salted water with 2 tbsp oil and drop your pasta sheets in the boiling water. You will notice, they cook much quicker than the store bought pasta. In just 2-3 minutes, the pasta sheets will start floating to the top, indicating that they are done. Drain the sheets and keep them aside
Lay a damp clean towel on the rolled sheets so that they don't dry out.
To make the minced meat:
Thoroughly wash the meat and put in a pressure cooker with enough water. Add 1/2 tsp salt and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. Then lower the gas, and simmer further for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep aside till the pressure is released. Add in 11/2 packet of Maggi bhuna masala and cook the keema till the water dries up.
To make the Cheese Sauce :
Heat 3 tbsp butter (you can use half oil, half butter). Add 3 rounded tbsp flour. Cook for a few seconds till the flour browns slightly, then add 11/2 cups cold milk. Stir well till the mixture boils and thickens.Take off the heat and add 50 gms grated cheese. Season to taste with salt, pepper and mustard powder.
To assemble the dish:
Preheat oven to 200C
Take a dish and spoon a layer of cheese sauce at the bottom.
Lay the prepared lasagna sheet on top of the sauce,
Spread a layer of the mince meat filling on the sheet and top it with the cheese sauce.
Keep repeating the layers ending with the cheese sauce.
Sprinkle generously with the mozzarella cheese.
Bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and turned golden brown.
Remove from oven and cool the lasagna before serving.