I tend to find myself crying a lot these days. Not about anything important – in fact, it’s the trivial things that really set me off. A slightly sentimental advert, a chick and a cat becoming friends or even just spilling coffee granules on the kitchen floor.
For example, today I’ve already cried twice, and both times were during the first half hour of Harry Potter film ‘The Goblet of Fire’. Bear in mind, nothing upsetting had actually happened yet. Thinking about it, the first cry was over Brendan Gleeson, until I realised he wasn’t actually dead in real life (thanks, Google). The second was the realisation I may never get to go to a glamorous wizarding ball.
So, to cheer myself up, I needed some serious comfort food and that came in the form of my mum’s red pepper and tomato lasagne – aka tomato and cheesy pasta realness. In fact, this recipe was one of the first-ever recipes I blogged about many moons ago, but I have to be honest, the picture was a bit shit and so was the recipe. So I spent the day rewriting, reshooting and re-eating it. It was so good it made me cry… Again.
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
TIP: This is an easy recipe but does take a couple of hours to cook so best make when you have plenty of time. Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon.
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
❄– Suitable for home freezing before cooking. Wrap the lasagne well in 2 layers of cling film and 1 layer of foil. Defrost fully before baking.