Tonight's dinner had to be special, of course - it's Eid-ul-Fitri, or Hari Raya Aidilfitri as it's known in this part of the world. It celebrates the end of Ramadan, the period of fasting for Muslims and the month when the Qu'ran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Yes, I know all of these things because my boy's Muslim and I had to live with his crankiness (thanks to 12 hours of no food and no water) for a good four weeks. So he's celebrating a religious holiday, and I'm celebrating the end of the month of crankiness.
So I did a spin on my usual lasagna and have decided to call this Lasagna From Heaven. Seriously. Even I was surprised at how well it worked out. And it's halal! *sticks tongue out*
Minced beef or mutton, defrosted
Mushrooms, sliced thinly
Lasagna sheets (I use San Remo's Instant Lasagna because you don't need to cook them beforehand)
One onion, chopped finely
Two cloves of garlic, minced
One beef cube
Chicken salami (You can substitute any kind of cold cuts - ham, bacon, etc. I just used salami because we had some in the fridge)
Grated parmesan cheese
Italian herbs (basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano)
A spoonful of brown sugar
A splash of soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius
2. Heat up your pan and coat with oil. I generally like using olive oil for any kind of Italian cooking because, aside from remembering Mario Batali, I like that olive oil doesn't fry your garlic to death but instead cooks them gently.
3. Once your oil is smoking, add onion and garlic and stir-fry until the onions have started to become translucent and the garlic is turning golden.
4. Add the meat and cook through. Just as you're left with the last pink studs of meat, add the sliced mushrooms to heat through. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Add the tomato sauce. I used a can of tomato puree actually, since that was the only one in the pantry. And then I filled the can with some water to clean up the last dregs of the sauce and slowly added it in, stirring all the while. Dissolve the beef cube into the sauce as well.
6. Lower the heat. Season your sauce to your liking. I usually use the Italian herbs mix, and because I'm Filipino, I add sugar and soy sauce to my pasta. I've noticed that it cuts through the sourness of the tomato sauce and adds that nice hint of caramelization to the meat. I also add a bit of Chiu Chow Chilli Oil (yes we have that in the Philippines, relax) because we like things with a little bit of heat in this household. ;)
7. Let the sauce simmer for about 10-15 minutes or so. While waiting for the sauce to cook through, take out your baking pan or casserole dish and your lasagna sheets (cooked or instant).
8. Line the bottom of your pan with a thin layer of the sauce. Alternate layers of the lasagna sheets and the sauce. I think this recipe made about three layers in total.
9. Once you reach your last layer, take your salami and layer it over the top. Finish it off with grated Parmesan cheese. I've tried my lasagnas with mozzarella and cheddar, but I find that I really like the taste of Parmesan. :)
10. Bake inside the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown. You'll find that the salami is nicely baked and crisped, and the lasagna itself is lovely and tasty. It's not dry like other lasagnas, nor does it overpower your taste buds and leave that weird gamey after-taste in your mouth.
11. Serve with your choice of poison: garlic bread, buttered toast, soup, or if you're like my mother, you'll eat it with rice. O_O
Current Location: Singapore
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: The Football Channel O_O