Big news everyone… I HAVE A MAN COMING TO DINNER! Yes mum, an actual man, with a pulse and a head and everything. Although, if he has a weeping abscess on his leg, lets hope he keeps that information to himself, unlike my last date.
Was it a mistake to mention I had a food blog? Probably. Presumably his exceptions will be sky high, so that’s good. AGGHHH! What the hell am I going to cook him and what if it goes horribly wrong?! I’ll forever be known as ‘the food blogger who can’t cook and can’t kiss’… Not that I’m a bad cook or a bad kisser, in fact I’m an excellent kisser so not sure why I said that.
Anyway, I need to cook something safe, something I know and something I can prepare in advance to stop me getting frazzled like Robin Williams in Mrs Doubtfire. I don’t want to burn my tits.
Lets bring out the big guns, my mum’s tomato and red pepper lasagne. Now then, this aint no a regular lasagne, there’s no béchamel or mince, just a simple sauce of cooked down tomatoes and peppers. This was a week night staple in the Heale household throughout my childhood, until my mum had to give up dairy (selfish woman). Luckily my dad heroically stepped up and managed to cobble it together occasionally for my brother and I, thank god. In fact, it was the only thing my dad could cook apart from a jacket potato.
Over the years I’ve managed to cook it entirely from memory for all kinds of people, all of which have loved it. The sauce is easy to make but quite time consuming, so I recommend you make it the day before. Wish me luck! :S
Mum’s red pepper & tomato lasagne
Serves 6 / Hands on time 30 mins / Total 2 hour 10 minutes / V
You’ll need: Rectangular oven-proof dish 22cm x 28cm and foil
9 dried lasagne sheets
24 tomatoes, cut into eighths
4 red peppers, de-seeded and finely chopped
2 tbs dried oregano
2 tbs dried basil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
300g mild/medium strength vegetarian cheddar, grated
1. Slice off the core and roughly chop each tomato into eighths and put in a large pot, over a medium heat with a tbs of extra virgin olive oil. Meanwhile, de-seed and finely chop the peppers and add them to the tomatoes. Sprinkle over the dried herbs, a tsp of salt and mix well.
2. Bring to the boil (you may have to dig down to the bottom to see the juices bubbling away). Put the lid on and cook the sauce down for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and continue to simmer for a further 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Meanwhile grate the cheese.
3. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400F/gas mark 6. Once the sauce has thickened, take off the heat and start assembling the lasagne.
4. Oil the oven dish and start layering. Begin with a layer of pasta sheets (feel free to break the pasta sheets to fit your dish if needs be). Cover the lasgane sheets with an even layer of sauce (3 ladles worth) and top with an even sprinkling of cheese. Continue to layer like this a couple more times before topping with the last layer of cheese. Season with salt and pepper and cover loosely with foil (ensure the foil isn’t touching the cheese – you don’t want the cheese to stick and peel the whole top layer of the lasagne off).
5. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes before removing the foil and cooking for a further 10 minutes to brown the cheese a little. Leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving with a simple green salad.
If you’ve had a go at making my lasagne or any of my other recipes I’d love to hear about it. @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org