Monday, February 20, 2012

Five Minute Lasagne

We have only had baby tomatoes ripen so far this year but we have millions of them. So when I spotted a bargain box of BIG juicy ripe tomatoes on a visit to the Sunday markets, I couldn’t resist.  A week later, I have fused my trusty food dryer, made  barbecue sauce, hands off chutney, raw tomato sauce, ratatouille and ratatouille flan, smoked and dried tomatoes and there are still some of them  awaiting my attention.

There is nothing like a glut to bring out some creative cooking. I have a very strong memory of the first time my Italian friend Luana, cooked lasagne for me many years. I have never asked her for the recipe - we always have so much else to talk about – but here is my version of what I remember.

It will take you less than five minutes to assemble and about forty minutes to cook. There are no amounts for ingredients, decide what size dish you want to make and keep on layering.
Deceptively simple, this is a light, fresh, elegant way to serve lasagne. The juices in the bottom had me sucking at the baking dish (á la Nigella!) before I did the dishes... Luscious!

Lasagne sheets
Large fresh tomatoes, sliced thickly
Fresh basil, whole leaves or torn
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
White wine

Begin by putting a very thin layer of white wine into the bottom of a dish.
Add lasagne sheets to cover.

Layer by covering with fresh tomato slices sprinkled with basil, drizzled with a little olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Only use a couple of leaves for each layer or the taste will be overpowering.

Continue for at least three layers of pasta, more of you like, ending with a layer of tomatoes.

Cover with foil, making sure that the foil does not touch the tomatoes as it will dissolve the aluminium. (Yuk!)

Bake 180C for 40 minutes. Remove foil and check pasta for doneness by piercing with a skewer. Allow to rest for ten minutes before cutting.

If desired, grill for a couple of minutes to brown the top.
Serve with freshly grated parmesan.

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