My housemates and I are all busy people and at any one time there's at least one of us living out on placement Monday to Friday. Add in going home for the weekend now and again, and suddenly it becomes quite a challenge to actually see much of us other!
The other week I spent most of Sunday afternoon preparing this delicious vegetarian lasagne so that we could share a meal together before packing our suitcases and heading off to various hospitals for the week. Pasta dishes are ideal for serving lots of people, but until now we've always avoided pasta because one of my housemate's cannot eat gluten. This time though I was fortunate enough to have been sent some gluten free brown rice pasta* from Rizopia. I was curious how this naturally gluten free pasta would compare to ordinary wheat pasta.
Seeing as I had a whole day free to cook it (because I'm ignoring the pathology notes I still need to write up!) I decided to do it properly and make my own white and tomato sauces. My white sauce skills definitely need a little more practice, but the tomato sauce was delicious, even if I do say so myself!
To make approx. 6 servings
2 sweet peppers (I used a yellow and a red)
2 small/medium aubergines
8 sheets brown rice pasta
1tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion
1 clove of garlic
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
2tbsp tomato purée
Handful of basil leaves
85g gluten-free plain flour
125g mozzarella cheese
1. Begin by preparing the roasted vegetables. Chop the aubergines, courgette and peppers into equal size chunks- approx 1.5cm. Put them into a roasting tin and drizzle with olive oil. Put in the oven at 180°c for 35 minutes.
2. While the vegetables roast, you can make sauces. For the tomato sauce, finely chop the onion and garlic and chop the carrot into small pieces. Pour 1tbsp of olive oil into a saucepan and once hot, add the onion, garlic and carrot. On medium heat, cook for 5-7 minutes until softened. Stir in the tomato purée. Then add both tins of chopped tomatoes and stir well. Roughly tear the basil leaves and add them to the sauce. Leave to simmer.
3. For the white sauce, melt 85g butter in a saucepan then stir in the 85g of flour and cook for 2 minutes. Using a whisk to keep everything moving, slowly pour in the milk. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and carry on stirring until the sauce thickens up.
4. Take the vegetables out of the oven and put half into the bottom of the lasagne dish. Pour over half the tomato sauce, then place sheets of lasagne over the top to cover. Pour over half of the white sauce. Then add the rest of the vegetables, the rest of the tomato sauce and another layer of pasta sheets. Finish with the remaining white sauce, making sure to completely cover the top layer of pasta. (The chunky vegetables and not particularly deep dish meant that I didn't have many layers. Adjust this stage as necessary to make more layers if you want).
5. Finish off by scattering chunks of mozzarella evenly across the top of the lasagne. Place in the oven for 45min at 180°c until golden on top and cooked through.
(Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food)
Verdict on the free-from pasta?
We really liked it! It cooks just like normal pasta which is perfect for anyone who doesn't normally use gluten-free foods. It tastes like brown pasta and worked really well with the vegetable flavours in this dish.
Rizopia comes from PGR Health Foods and can be found in independent health food stores or from their Amazon store with free delivery. It is also available on prescription from the doctor for anyone who is a register coeliac.
What do you think?
*I received one box of Rizopia lasagne sheets from PGR Health Foods in return for reviewing them on my blog. I did not receive any money for this post and all opinions are honest and my own.