Lasagne is probably in my top 5 fav foods to eat, I'm talking about the delicious ragu and the creamy white sauce, underneath layers of pasta and more melted cheese, what's not to like? So last week I challenged PK to make me a lasagne which is still tasty but not crazy in calories and I think we're ready to share it with you guys! Disclaimer: obviously it doesn't taste like your typical indulgent lasagne but I'll do anything to still be able to eat this without having to starve myself the whole day to ensure my calories fit within the allowed range. One serving of this is around ~600 calories so enjoy but don't have too much at one go! 😍
Difficulty: Level 2
Wow factor: ⭐⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
For the ragu / meat sauce:
500gr 5% fat minced meat
500gr 5% fat minced pork
3tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
4 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
4 carrots, chopped into small cubes
4 celery sticks, chopped
1 cup of good quality red wine (tip: don't cook with wine you wouldn't drink 😉)
2 tinned tomatoes
2tbsp tomato paste
1 cube beef stock
3 bay leaves
2tsp Italian herbs
Dash of chili flakes
Sea salt & black pepper to taste
For the white sauce:
250gr quark cheese
2tbsp plain flour
1tbsp salted butter
320ml semi-skimmed milk
A dash of ground nutmeg
Sea salt & black pepper to taste
1tsp cornflour + 1tsp water (optional)
1 box of lasagne sheets (I used high-fiber lasagne sheets from Sainsburys)
2 mozzarella balls to shred
Part 1: The Ragu
Firstly, let's tackle the ragu. In a large saucepan or pot, heat olive oil. When ready, add onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. Cook until soft. This might take around 5-8 minutes.
When that's done, add in your minced meat and pork. Cook until browned.
Then add your tinned tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix again and cook for 2 minutes.
now add your beef stock, red wine, bay leaves, Italian herbs, chili flakes and season with sea salt and black pepper. Bring to a simmer and let it cook for at least 1 hour to ensure depth in flavour. When done, set aside for assembly later.
Part 2: The White Sauce
Whilst that is cooking you can start making your white sauce. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter. When that has melted, whisk in your flour until it forms a thick paste.
Add in the milk slowly, and keep whisking while you're doing this.
Lower the heat and add quark cheese. Mix well and check if this is thick enough. If this doesn't look thick enough to you, dilute 1tsp cornflour in cold water and add it to the sauce. Bring to a low simmer and keep cooking for about 3-4 minutes until the sauce can coat the back of your spatula / wooden spoon.
Once ready, add your nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Set aside for assembly.
Part 3: Assembling the Lasagne
To assemble your lasagne, what you want to do first is to pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.
In a large lasagne pan, add a layer of your delicious ragu. You don't need to add too much just ensure it covers the base of the pan. Now add a layer of lasagne sheets, snapping them into the desired length if needed. Press the lasagne sheets down gently.
Add a layer of our quark white sauce.
Now add another layer of ragu. Then repeat the steps (pasta - white sauce - ragu) until you've filled up your lasagne pan. Your last layer should be the lasagne sheets and the white sauce. Ensure you leave about 2-3 cm bubbling space between the final lasagne sheet and the top of your lasagne pan.
Now using your hands, shred the mozzarella balls and spread them on top of your white sauce.
Take a baking pan and place it underneath your lasagne pan. This ensures that even if it overflows, the pan will catch it and keep your oven clean.
Bake your lasagne in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the top is a nice golden colour with brown crispy bits on top.
Once ready, take it out of the oven and let it cool down for 10 minutes or so. Sprinkle with basil and you're ready to serve!
Hot tip: With ragu, you can chuck in any vegetables you might have at home to hand such as courgettes, mushrooms, peppers, etc. this is a good way to get rid of leftover veg. We even tried to use cauliflower leaves because we wanted to test what it would taste like. It was okay but PK was very much against using cauli leaves in ragu again so I wouldn't recommend it 🤪
What to do with leftover ragu: Chances are, you might have a lot of ragu left and if you do, don't throw it away. They freeze really well so pop them into an airtight container and put them in the freezer. They will probably last up to a month or more! You can have it with pasta or other carbs of choice. It's always nice to have ragu for those lazy days when you don't want to cook.
Calorie counting: According to my calorie counting App, a slice of this deliciousness comes down to about ~600 calories/serving which I know is not completely guilt-free but an average lasagne is around ~800 calories/serving so it definitely is lighter!