3 May 2011

Bacon & Mixed Pepper Lasagne : a lot of work, but so worth it!

I find cooking Lasagne and Moussaka a hard old slog, these days.  I suppose it's because they have at least three main processes, in that the meat, then the sauce need cooking, then the whole lot requires layering up, before you can put it in the oven and put your feet up for five minutes.

When I put this Lasagne on the menu list, we had temporarily forgotten that we would be out on Sunday evening, at the Bournemouth Folk Club.  Had I have remembered this, there was no way on this earth I'd have ever put Lasagne down as a definite.  However, there it was and all I could do was struggle on through.

For an able-bodied person, I suspect the making of the Lasagne would be simple enough but the thing that I find so difficult is the amount of time spent in front of the cooker stirring one thing or another, plus the time spent cutting and chopping.  There's an awful lot of cutting and chopping involved!  By the time I'd reached the layering assembly point, I could no longer feel my hands - and even though I was sitting down for a lot of it, my legs and knees had definitely had it.

However, after all that moaning - and if you've reached this far - let me say that it is very definitely worth it.

The Lasagne is a thing of beauty once created - and it has so many layers of flavour.  If I was to say that son & heir eats it without complaint - and bear in mind that it contains largely red, green & yellow peppers - then it might go a long way to validate just how nice a lasagne this is.

Oh - and one other thing.  It can easily be converted to a vegetarian dish simply by not including the bacon.

Lasagne : about to go into the oven


Ingredients :

Pack of bacon (leave this out if opting for a vegetarian lasagne)
5-6 mixed peppers, cored and cut into slices
1 small onion, chopped
clove of garlic, grated
6 large vine tomatoes (the tastiest ones you can find), roughly chopped
1 tbsp fresh basil, torn
half a tsp of dried oregano
splash of Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
ground black pepper to taste
1 pint semi-skimmed milk
1 heaped tbsp flour
25g butter
cayenne pepper to taste
225g cheese, grated - I use red leicester or mature cheddar
lasagne sheets.

Method :

1.  Fry the bacon pieces and remove from the pan to keep warm.

2.  Fry the onion & garlic until soft and browned and remove to keep warm with the bacon.

3.  Fry the sliced peppers until soft, then add the tomatoes, puree, ketchup, herbs, Worcestershire sauce and return the bacon and onion to the pan.  Cook for another ten minutes or so, allowing all the flavours to combine and the lot to become saucy.  You may need to add a little water to encourage the "sauciness".

4.  Place the milk, flour and butter into a pan and slowly bring to the boil, whisking like mad until it reaches boiling point and starts to thicken.  Add three quarters of the cheese and stir until it has melted.  Season with a little cayenne pepper.

5.  Begin to layer into a large lasagne dish by starting with a layer of the cheese sauce, then a layer of lasagne sheets, meat mixture, then the cheese sauce, repeating until you finish with a layer of peppers then cheese sauce.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.

6.  Bake for around 45-60 mins at 180deg C until golden brown and smelling lush.

Serve with garlic bread and a side salad.

A thing of beauty


  1. Yes...Have to agree with you here Jenny. What a lovely dish. This year will be my 31st annual Barby on the 1st Sun of August, about 50-60 people, and every year, they want the same things, and one is 'Pasta in Forno' instead of lasagna pasta, l use tagliatelle. But, it does'nt matter. In Sicily, tagliatelle, is a much used pasta. And.....Yes it takes some preparing....But well worth it, at the end of it all.
    Oh! to-day l picked up my Italian Oggi magazine,
    and how strange there was an article about salt...'Meno Sale...Piu Salute'.
    It's amazing how much Sodium there is in food.
    It even suggest's to use more pepper, and of course less salt. Which we all know is very bad for you anyway.........!

  2. Salt is one of the very good reasons I stopped buying pre-prepared food and opted to make from scratch, Willie. At least, this way, I know exactly how much salt has gone into the dishes I'm feeding the family - which to me, is a good thing!

  3. You are so right about Lasagne (and Moussaka for that matter) being a hassle, but ultimately worth it. If done with care and attention both are fabulously rich and morish.

    I like the bacon-instead-of-beef tweak, it must add a certain salty yumminess to proceedings. There is something so good about the pairing of cheese and bacon.

    Incidentally, when I had lasagne in Bolognia the cook told me that the beef had to be ground three times, each time finer than the last. Blimey, that really would make it a drawn out affair to cook.

  4. I think it's not just the bacon/cheese thing that's so good with this one, but the whole bacon/cheese/peppers thing! The peppers play such a big part in the whole taste sensation, it's absolutely no good cooking this if you don't like them!

    I can't imagine grinding beef three times. Surely it'd be more of a paste than anything else - although when mixed with the tomato, hmmmn, well maybe. I'll be getting someone else to do the grinding, thankyou. LOL


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