This recipe evolved in my repertoire when I had run out of lasagne sheets. Now I just find it easier to eat for work lunches – no knife required. Its basically lasagne but using penne (rigatoni is good too) instead of lasagne sheets. This makes a big batch. I had lots of extras for the freezer – approximately 8 portions + extra meat sauce.
I make the ragu (meat sauce) the day before and then assemble and bake the next day.
Meat Sauce – Day 1
500g of minced/ground beef
500g of pork sausage meat
2 x tinned tomatoes
1 x can of cream of tomato soup
3 cups of frozen carrots
1 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp of tomato puree
1 tsp of salt (add more at season break if desired)
1 half tsp of red pepper flakes (or pepper if preferred)
2 tsp of oregano
2 tsp of basil
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
Cook for 4 hours in slow cooker at the high setting. Then mash the carrot and meat with a potato masher to get a fine consistency. It also hides the veggies for those who have vegetable issues. Check seasoning and cook on low for another hour. Once cooked, refrigerate overnight, this allows the meats and sauce to marry nicely.
Assemble – Day 2
For the assembly we need the below ingrediants.
2-3 jars of white sauce (make from scratch if preferred, I like to cheat, less dishes!)
500g of pasta – penne/rigatoni
250g of grated cheese – mozzarella/cheddar
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven at 200 degrees. Cook the pasta al dente as per instructions on the packet. Ensure the pasta is not too soft! Drain and add some meat sauce, enough to coat the pasta, and keep enough aside for the top and bottom of the casserole dish.
Layer some meat sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish. Then layer some pasta. Then layer some white sauce, then some shredded cheese, then pasta again and repeat until either your dish is full or you run out of one of the layers. When your dish is nearly full, add a layer of meat sauce, then any leftover shredded cheese and a good generous layer of parmesan. Bake at 200 degrees until the cheese is golden.
This is a great recipe for batch cooking and freezes really well. Buon Appetito!