Last week I was telling my Irishman about this great idea.
For my 15 Minute Meals class I decided to base the recipes in the class on my student’s suggestions. Like a 15 Minute challenge.
Anyway, he though it was a great idea and shared it with his colleagues. That afternoon I got an email with a request.
15 minute lasagne and 15 minute jelly.
Now 15 minute jelly (or jell-o) shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Make a very concentrated jelly solution then cool it down with ice and water to set it quickly.
15 minute lasagne, on the other hand. That would take some thinking about.
So on Saturday, I gave it a shot.
And the result?
Much better than even I expected.
Working really quickly, I was able to get a pretty decent lasagne in the time limit. It was all about using a skillet to quickly cook the beef then add tomato paste and butter for an instant meat sauce.
The next trick was to construct the lasagne in the hot skillet, layering over a medium heat so the lasagne started to cook from the bottom as the layers took place. A combo of ricotta and parmesan saved the need to make a bechamel sauce which would have taken 15 minutes in itself.
Then a blast under a super hot overheat grill to brown, melt the cheese and make sure the top layers were cooked. Done.
And how did it taste?
My Irishman was a little bit concerned when I suggested we have my 15 minute lasagne for dinner on Saturday night.
To say he was blown away by how good it was is an understatement. So don’t feel like you’ll need to hide this lasagne away from company. It’s good enough for entertaining.
When I tasted the lasagne freshly made, it was better than just edible, but the lasagne sheets weren’t quite as tender as I would have liked. An extra few minutes under the grill and a few minutes to stand before serving would have fixed that (thus the ‘almost’ in the recipe title). By the time I reheated it for dinner, however, it was everything a good lasagne should be.
Is there something you’d love to be able to make in 15 minutes or less?
Or leave a comment below with your suggestions.
[almost] 15 minute lasagne
takes 15 minutes (if you’re quick!)
I’ve called this [almost] because while I got it done in 15 minutes, I was working really hard and the average cook would struggle. Most people should be able to get it done in 20 minutes though.
Feel free to use your own freshly made pasta or your favourite meat sauce instead of this super quick version.
In the excitement of making the lasagne, I forgot about my ingredient count and ended up with 6. Woops. You could keep to 5 ingredients by skipping the butter and replacing it with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
500g (1lb) minced (ground) beef
4-6 tablespoons tomato paste
2 knobs butter
500g (1lb) full fat ricotta
3 handfuls grated parmesan cheese
3 large fresh lasagne sheets, cut into 1/3s
1. Preheat your over head grill on it’s highest setting and place a large fry pan (skillet) on a very high heat.
2. Add a little olive oil and the beef to the pan. Cook stirring every minute or so until the meat is no longer pink.
3. Meanwhile, combine ricotta and parmesan in a bowl.
4. Add the tomato paste and butter to the beef and stir well. Cook for another few minutes until the butter is melted and everything is hot.
5. Reduce the heat under the pan to medium. Remove 3/4 meat from the pan and smooth the remaining meat over the base.
6. Cover with 3 of the lasagne sheet 1/3s. Then add more meat (1/4). Layer with more lasagne. Then layer with more meat (1/4) and grate over the parmesan. Layer with the remaining 3 lasagne sheet 1/3s then cover with the remaining meat (1/4).
7. Scoop ricotta mixture over the top to cover then grate more parmesan over.
8. Place under the hot grill for about 5 minutes or until the top is golden brown and everything is hot. If you have time let is stand for a few minutes before serving.
video version of the recipe
*note: I recorded the whole process and haven’t edited it to prove that I made it in the 15 minutes time limit. You might like to skip through, rather than watch the whole thing. And please excuse the camera focusing and the odd shot of my kitchen floor.