Tuna & Lentil Lasagne

Don't you just hate how lasagne breaks if you try to cut it immediately after baking? Of course you could wait til following day but who can resist eating it after all the preparing time and effort you've put into it.

I know cooking lasagne from scratch is quite laborious. But sometimes it's worth it if you've got time and energy. But, you could make it easier by cooking this easy soup with less water on previous day (make a double batch if you want to eat the soup too). Use 1/2-1 can water (instead of 1-2 cans) to make a lentil tomato sauce. (If you're doubling the ingredients, take half of the sauce to cool (for the lasagne) and dilute the rest with more water to make the soup.) Next day you'll only have to add tuna to the tomato lentil sauce, make the white sauce and compile everything.

I never put cheese in my lasagne, it just feels too much. The white sauce gratinates the dish quite nicely in my opinion. I created this recipe during my pescetarian days a couple years ago (nowadays I do eat meat but still not very often). You could also make this dish totally vegetarian by leaving the tuna out. If you don't like lentils, use two cans of tuna instead to make a delicious tuna lasagne.

Tuna & Lentil Lasagne (serves 4-6)

Tuna tomato sauce:
1-2 onions, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, grated
1-2 carrots, diced 
dried chili flakes
2 cans (800 g) chopped tomatoes
dried basil and oregano
1 tsp sugar (to reduce acidity)
100 g red lentils, washed and drained
1 can (185 g) tuna in tomato sauce

White sauce:
30 g butter
3 Tbsp wheat flour
600-700 ml (full-fat/semi-skimmed) milk
salt, nutmeg

12 lasagne sheets
(grated hard cheese)

Tomato sauce:
Heat some vegetable oil in a pot and saute onions, garlic and carrots. Add the chili flakes and saute a minute or two more (don't let them burn). Add tomato, herbs and sugar. Add 1/2-1 can water (use the emptied tomato can for measurement) to make a thin sauce (lentils will thicken it up later). Bring it to boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer at least 10 minutes (the longer you cook, the better the taste gets). Add lentils and cook according to package's instructions (I cooked them for 5 minutes, they will continue cooking in the oven). Add the tuna. Season with salt.

White sauce:
My recommendation is to use a teflon coated pot and preheat the milk (I preheat in microwave oven). Melt the butter in medium heat. Add the flour and mix it to an even roux. Keep stirring it a minute or two in medium heat (don't let it brown, this isn't going to be brown but white sauce :D ). Take the pot away from heat and add appr. 100 ml hot milk and whisk until even. Add appr. half of remaining milk, whisk until even and put back to heat. Keep stirring while on medium/hot heat. When the sauce thickens, add more milk (up to 600 ml) and let it cook until the sauce thickens. Stir it constantly (it burns easily and can even boil over). If the sauce ends up too thick, add an extra 100 ml milk. Don't cook the sauce too long as eventually it will start to lose its thickness. Season with salt and grated nutmeg.

Heat the oven to 200 C. Put a thin layer of tomato sauce on an oven-proof dish (25 x 25 cm or  20x30 cm). Add 3-4 lasagna sheets (no need to precook them) depending on your dish. Add tomato sauce, then white sauce and then lasagna sheets again and continue until you've got 3-4 layers of lasagna sheets. The top layer should be white sauce. You can grate some hard cheese on top too. Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes (if it starts to brown too much, reduce the heat to 175 C. Let the lasagne rest at least for 15 minutes after baking as its structure will improve.

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  1. Nam! Näyttää ihanalta, alkoi ihan kuola valuun :)


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