It was with mixed emotions that I farewelled my baby boy last week as he moved out of home and heads to university (sure, he may be 17, but he’ll always be my first baby!). I am super proud of the smart, caring, independent young man he has become, but I’ll also miss him a lot. He was ready and excited to get out on his own which means I’ve done my job as a parent, but it also means he doesn’t need me so much anymore (awww, sad face emoji).
So it was a great pleasure that he still needed something from me – my lasagne recipe! It is probably not that much different from many other lasagne recipes out there, but the cauliflower in the white sauce always gave the kids a smile, long after they were old enough to detect ‘hidden’ veggies. I have tried other hidden veggies in the mince but found it altered the taste and texture too much. The added cauliflower makes the white sauce even better, almost doubling the volume of yummy, creamy, cheesy sauce.
Keep reading for step-by-step instructions, or scroll down for the recipe.
Start by cutting the cauliflower into small pieces, add a little water and microwave on high for about 8 minutes until soft. Drain, then mash with a potato masher or even just a fork. (You can also puree it in a food processor for a super smooth texture.)
For the white sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat, add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon for 1-2 minutes, being careful to not let it stick or burn. Add about ½ cup of milk and stir quickly until smooth (I like to do this step with a whisk), then add another ½ cup and stir until smooth. Repeat with remaining milk. Continuously stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until it thickens (about 4 minutes). Stir through the grated cheese until melted and then add the cauliflower.
The next step is to prepare the meat sauce. Add a little oil to a frypan over high heat and cook the onion and garlic until soft (keep stirring so that the garlic doesn’t burn). Add the mince and cook until browned, then add the tomato sauce. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce thickens. If it becomes too thick, just add a little water to get a looser consistency.
You can really do whatever suits your taste for the meat sauce, I’ve just kept it super simple here. Other options might be to add some tomato paste, dried herbs, wine, salt and pepper to taste. Another great version is a can of whole peeled tomatoes and a small can of tomato soup instead of the pasta sauce.
The last step is to put it all together. Start with half the meat sauce on the bottom, then a layer of lasagne sheets (cut to size as required), and half the white sauce. Repeat with remaining ingredients – meat sauce then lasagne sheets then white sauce. Top with grated cheese and bake for about 30 minutes at 180C until the cheese is melted.
I usually serve this delicious lasagne with a green salad and garlic bread (I’m sure my son has lots of salad and vegetables on his menu!!). Leftovers are great to freeze in smaller containers for more meals.
What was your favourite meal to cook when you first moved out of home? Let me know in the comments below.
- 1/2 cauliflower
- 60 g butter
- 1/3 cup flour
- 500 ml milk
- 1/2 cup grated cheese
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 500 g mince
- 1 jar pasta sauce
- 1 packet fresh lasagne sheets
- extra grated cheese
Cut cauliflower into pieces and microwave with a small amount of water for 8 minutes on high, or until soft. Drain, then mash or puree cooked cauliflower.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat then add flour and stir until smooth. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup of milk and stir or whisk until incorporated. Continue adding milk in 1/2 cup increments, whisking until smooth each time. Stir until sauce thickens and then add grated cheese and cauliflower.
Heat the oil in a frypan over high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring continuously, until soft.
Add mince and cook until browned, then add jar of pasta sauce and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes until sauce has thickened but is not too dry.
Putting it all together
Spread half the meat sauce in the bottom of your dish, followed by a layer of lasagne sheets (cut to size as required) and half the white sauce. Repeat. Top with extra grated cheese.
Bake at 180C for about 30 minutes until cheese is melted.