Simple pasta with tomato sauce, mince and vegetables, and a simple lasagna are quite similar to make. The pasta is a little faster because it does not have to go into the oven, but I do like the lovely cheese crust you get on the lasagna. Both dishes are not the real deal, not real ragu alla bolognaise and not real lasagna al forno, but they are great dishes filled with veggies and much faster and lighter than their original versions.
You can make the pasta sauce in advance and store it in the fridge or the freezer, I personally like to cook my pasta fresh, but even cooked pasta can be frozen. Ideal for last minute healthy food on busy days. Lasagna can be stored in the fridge as well (uncooked or cooked), freezing I never tried.
Because of their hearty taste, ease, vegetable-richness and filling properties, these dishes can be found often on our diner table.
Pasta with tomato sauce or lasagna (2 generous servings)
penne/lasagna sheets (the ones you don’t have to precook)
300 gram minced meat
1 can of tomatoes
1 onion, cubed
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow), cubed
100 gram mushrooms, sliced
1/2 courgette, sliced
1 stock cube
1/2 tbsp paprika
balsamic vinegar (1/2 tsp lasagna, 1/4 tsp pasta)
soy sauce (1/4 tsp lasagna, not in pasta)
sambal (1/4 tsp lasagna, not in pasta)
1 tsp dried oregano
cheese (gouda or mozzarellla)
Cook pasta/preheat oven to 200C. Fry the onions and garlic until soft in some olive oil, add the minced meat and fry until loose and slightly cooked. Then add the mushrooms and the bell pepper. Add the can of tomatoes, spiced and condiments and let cook for a while. This is especially important for the pasta sauce, since canned tomatoes are quite acidic and you need to cook them for a while to get the sweetness out. Add the courgette at the last moment, so it will keep a nice bite. Serve with the pasta, or make layers with the lasagna sheets in an oven dish and cover the top with cheese. The lasagna will have to cook for about 35 minutes in the preheated oven (but check the package of your lasagna sheets, some will have to cook shorter or longer). Enjoy!