Saturday, 23 August 2014

Tuna and Courgette "Lasagne"

This recipe has been a favourite of Sous Chef J's since being a young toddler.  I think it was originally from a cooking for your baby/child recipe book a pal gave me.  The original recipe used standard wheat based lasagne sheets but, since following a gluten free diet, we have used gluten free pasta and, this time, used a vegetable substitute.  We were lucky enough to be offered a HUGE courgette (zucchini) by someone at B's office and decided it would be perfect for making a lasagne with.

Listed ingredients for the dish are -

1 Tablespoon oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
2 courgettes, trimmed and sliced
125g sweetcorn kernels
1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes
250ml water
2 Tablespoons tomato puree
300g tinned tuna (drained and flaked)
cheese sauce - cornflour, butter, milk and cheese (see below)
6 sheets lasagne (we used courgette!)
grated cheese

First of all the courgette was trimmed to size to fit the lasagne dish.  the main 'body' was then lightly peeled and carefully sliced to provide 6 'lasagne' sheets.

We tested them for size by putting them in the dish.

Adding the oil to a frying pan, we added the chopped onion and garlic and lightly sauteed it until it became soft.

The remainder of the courgette was chopped into chunks and added to the fried onion together with the sweetcorn.  This was allowed to cook, over a moderate heat, for a few minutes.

Next, the tinned tomatoes, water and tomato puree were added to the pan.  This was brought to the boil then simmered for about 30 minutes.

Whilst the sauce was cooking, we got on with making the cheese sauce.  This is a really simple recipe using -

30g butter
30g cornflour
300ml milk
75g grated cheese (we used cheddar)

The butter was melted in a small pan.  The cornflour was then added and mixed well to make a paste before being stirred over a low heat for about a minute.

Next the milk was gradually added, whilst whisking the mix gently.  Once all the milk had been addded,  the sauce was brought to the boil until it became thick and smooth (make sure you whisk/stir well throughout).

Finally, with the pan removed from the heat, the grated cheese was added and incorporated using the whisk.

Once the tomato sauce had thoroughly cooked, it was taken off the heat and allowed to cool slightly before adding the drained tuna. 

Then began the task of assembling the 'lasagne'... the first third of the tuna mix was put in the base of the dish before being covered with two slices of the courgette. 

A third of the cheese sauce was put on top of the courgettes and the next third of the tuna mix was placed on top.

The layering was repeated again until the final two slices of courgette had been covered with cheese sauce.

We then seasoned the top with freshly ground black pepper and sprinkled over the grated cheese before adding the dish to a pre-heated oven at 180ºC for about 45-55 minutes. We like to wait until the top of the dish is bubbling and the cheese is just beginning to brown in places.  (The cooking time will vary depending on the shape/size of dish used so keep an eye on it!)

Once cooked, the tuna lasagne was served with some peas.  The quantities in this recipe easily feed 4 but you can serve smaller portions and accompany it with green salad if you need to feed 6.

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