Ohaider. Fancy seeing you here.
You have probably been directed here from my recent review of Barenaked Noodles, but if not, here’s the post: http://wp.me/p3uKpY-6M
I adore Lasagne Al Forno, it’s such a comfort food of mine, given we would always have it on Christmas Eve, made by my Nonna. Since her death, the lasagne tradition has died a little bit so I don’t often have it. My mother (not Italian) makes a great lasagne too, though very different from my Nonna’s but I can very rarely justify the calories in it. I could easily make a healthier version but I just NEVER have the time to make it. All those sauces, the awkward pasta sheets, the layering and then baking?! DAMMIT I WANT IT NOW. So here’s my compromise: This is a low carb, high protein lasagne using spaghetti. It’s packed full of veggies and can be cooked and ready within 15 minutes.
Now let’s get cooking!
You will need:
- One pack of Barenaked Noodles (Protein or original, depending on your needs)
50g Quorn Mince – Frozen Weight (I use Quorn mince because I’m just not a fan of meat mince. You can of course use mince if you like but this will alter the macros)
25g Raw White Onion, chopped
1 Raw Garlic Cloves, diced
Handful of Frozen Carrots
Handful of Frozen Peas
1 Celery stick, diced
50g, about 4 Cherry Tomatoes, SMOOSHED (You could use around 200g tinned chopped tomatoes instead but fresh always makes the best flavour. Vine or Plum tomatoes would also work here)
2 Frozen Spinach Balls
50g of Tomato Puree [I used Asda]
A splash of generic Red Wine
A splash of Balsamic Vinegar [I used Asda]
1 tsp Mixed Herbs (I used Asdas, you’re looking for flavours like Basil, Oregano, Sage, and Thyme)
A Pinch of Chilli Powder [I used Asda]
- For the white/cheese sauce:
25g Raw Courgette, chopped
45g Raw White Mushrooms, chopped
4 Pitted Green Olives
1 Clove of Garlic, diced
30g Lightest Philadelphia Cream Cheese
5g Reduced Fat Chedder [I used Morrisons Nu Me]
- 5g more Cheddar
- 5g Parmigiano Reggiano (NOT THAT CRAP IN A LITTLE SHAKER – use fresh) [I used Asda]
- 5ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil [I used Napolina]
I know this sounds like a lot, but it’s just because of the veggies, try not to omit them, they’re good for you! 😀
Firstly, get a strainer and open and drain your noodles. Because they are made from the Konjac root, they are stored in a liquid. Don’t be too put off by it, it’s just the same principle as some cheeses being stored in liquid or fish in brine. The water will smell fishy, but give them a good rinse under the tap and the smell will go. When the smell is gone you can leave them in the strainer to use later.
Drain and Rinse
Heat up a teaspoon (about 5ml) of olive oil in a little pan and add the onions, courgette and mushrooms. Remove the courgette and mushrooms and add to another pan for later. Add the chopped celery Quorn Mince and stir until the mince has defrosted. Squash the tomatoes in your hands before adding them as well. Smoosh them up a bit in the pan and add a bit of water, keep the heat on medium (or just add tinned tomatoes…but this is just more fun). Add the tomato puree and stir well. You’ll want the tomatoes to break down pretty well. Add some more water (at this point it’s okay that the sauce is watery, you’ll need it that way) then add the spinach, peas and carrots and half the garlic clove and turn the heat down and let it simmer.
In the pan with your courgettes and mushrooms, gently heat and add your garlic and and olives. Careful not to let these burn (add more oil if required but if you keep the heat low enough then you shouldn’t have to add the extra calories) and splash a bit of water in. Spoon in your Philadelphia and stir until melted. If it’s too thick, add more water (or milk if you would like a creamier taste).
Go back to the meat sauce, by this point your spinach should have defrosted, give it a good stir to spread the spinach around and stop it clumping. Add the wine and balsamic vinegar and chuck in the rest of the garlic and the herbs and chilli powder. The chilli powder is optional but I think it adds just a nice little kick to the meal.
Remember those noodles? There are several ways to cook them. They’re suitable in a microwave for about 3 minutes, you can boil them for an equal amount of time, or simply dry fry them. They shouldn’t stick but add a touch of water or oil if desired and move them around occasionally to ensure they all cook. Dry frying them helps remove the rubbery texture to them and through experience I have found this is the best way to cook them. They won’t take long but you’ll have a hard time burning them – they don’t seem to undercook. When they “pop” and bounce around you know they’re DEFINITELY done but they won’t necessarily do that.
Add 5g grated Chedder Cheese to the white sauce now and season with salt and pepper if desired.
When everything is cooked, it’s time to assemble everything. Start with a bit of pasta (using salad tongs to grab the strands is the easiest way). Add some meat sauce, then more pasta, then white, then meat, then pasta etc Any order you want is fin 🙂 When all the sauce and noodles are used up, top with 5g chedder cheese and the parmigiano. If you want it a little gloopy, nuke it in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
DONE. Buon appetito.
This is a single serving and using all of the above ingredients, your meal will come to:
You can reduce the carbs by taking out the peas and carrots, but why would you?
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