I am not a huge reality tv show fan. Even some of the food ones I don’t watch because they are more about personalities and conflict than about the food. But I do have some favourites – I have been watching the Great British Bake Off or at least repeats that are currently running. I like the tips they give on why things have and haven’t worked and some of the contestants are so creative with their designs. Plus baking is all a bit of a mystery to me. Watching people who seem to know the chemistry behind it are fascinating!
One of the other tv shows I watch is another English one – about hoarders. I am not sure why this one appeals – perhaps because I have some hoarding tendencies myself and the show reminds me not to go too far down that route. The British show does look at bit at the psychology behind the hoarding and often it is some personal trauma that has made it difficult for people to let go of physical objects. I can understand where they are coming from, especially when someone has died or a relationship has failed. You gain a sense of control by keeping things.
My Gran on the other hand was the complete opposite or at least that is the way it felt. She had a few treasured items including a lovely sideboard that my Grandad made her. But in general she was not materialistic at all and I wish I was more like her. Gran lost all her possessions in World War II when her house was bombed and I am sure this influenced her attitude. Why get attached to something that can be gone in a flash.
We have a long weekend coming up here in Australia and one of the things I want to get done is clearing out some of my cupboards. I did a bit over Christmas including throwing out an old pot that was adding black flecks of disintegrating non stick surface to food and that I had not use in probably years because of this. I am not sure why I had such an aversion to throwing it out. This weekend I want to crush my inner hoarder and get sorted.
But of course if you are challenging yourself, a bit of comfort food goes a long way to helping with coping. Not all comfort food is created equal and it is often high in calories. Either that or it takes forever to cook like those wintery casseroles. And with summer in Australia, I don’t want my oven pumping out heat. Lasagna is one of my favourite comfort foods but the whole cooking process to make a good one is not for an Australian summer day. But I thought this skillet lasagna from Amy at Chew Out Loud sounded like just the solution – lasagna in one fry pan!
And it sort of is. It is definitely comfort food and it is fully of cheesy goodness but I think calling it lasagna is a bit of a stretch for me. I would (and have on this post) call it one pot cheesy pasta. What it didn’t have that I associate with lasagna is the béchamel sauce. I know not all recipes call for béchamel but to me a good lasagna has to have béchamel in it. I think I would have like this recipe more if I hadn’t been expecting it to taste like lasagna but without the work. But I should have known that rarely happens in the food world. Sure some shortcuts work but on the whole you need to do things the proper way to get the flavour you expect.
Having said all of that if you are in the mood for some lovely fairly easy to cook cheesy pasta then this is just the trick and unlike some recipes that claim to be one pan, it really is one pan. I made a two person serving and the second serving reheated well next the day. To make enough for two serves I used the following ingredients:
- 150g of tinned diced tomatoes
- 1/2 tbs of olive oil
- 1/4 an onion finely diced
- 5 tsps of minced garlic (equal to 2 cloves)
- ¼ tsp of fennel seeds
- ½ tsp of oregano (I used dried)
- 1 tsp of low gi cane sugar (the original recipe has white sugar)
- 150g of Italian sausage (casing removed). I think you could also use a nice mix of minces like pork, beef or veal depending on what is in your freezer
- About 80g of lasagne sheets. The recipe recommended curly sheets but I couldn’t find that at my local supermarket so just broke up some plain rectangle ones.
- 1/3 cup of ricotta cheese
- 2-3 tbs of grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tbs of shredded basil
Preparation time is about 10-15 minutes – there are quite a few ingredients to pull together and I nearly always do mise en place before I cook. I tend to get flustered if I am trying to find things while I cook. Cooking time is about 30-35 minutes depending on how quickly your sausage cooks. So all up about 45-50 minutes. It has about 640 calories per serve so on the higher end of what I eat for a normal dinner.