We love lasagne in our house, in fact it’s one of our favourite dinners. Its full of yummy ingredients, saucy, cheesy and is one of those comfort foods that makes us all super happy. Little Oscar was no different and the yum sounds were always heard with every bite. It was probably the messiest dinner he ever ate and so I experimented with both fresh and dried lasagne sheets in my beloved mini muffin tin. They are super cute looking and are so much easier for little hands to manage (and a lot cleaner). This recipe not only makes 24 baby sized dinners but also has enough left over to make a 3 portion family lasagne.
400g Lean Round Steak Mince (For vegetarian substitute with roasted peppers, aubergine and courgette)
1 Large White Onion finely chopped
4 Cloves Garlic Crushed
1 Tin Tomatoes
3 Tablespoons Unsalted Tomato Purée
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
15 Basil Leaves
2 Teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 Teaspoon English Mustard
50g Unsalted Butter (substitute with 1/4 cup of olive oil for dairy free)
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 Cup Milk (substitute with soy milk for dairy free)
1/2 Cup Cheddar Cheese (or alternative vegan cheese)
10 Fresh Lasagne Sheets (substitute with 6 dried egg free – see instructions for this below)
How to make it...
To make the pasta sauce
Heat a little olive olive in a saucepan and fry your minced beef until brown and cooked then place into a bowl and set aside for later. (If you are vegetarian add your vegetables to the oven and roast for approx 30 mins at 180ºC, when cooked chop up finely and set aside for later).
In the same saucepan heat a little more olive oil and fry your onion on a medium heat for about 8 minutes stirring regularly. The onion should caramelise and become sweet and delicious. Add the crushed garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the tin of tomatoes, tomato purée, apple cider vinegar, mustard and then stir well. Simmer on a low heat for about 5 minutes.
Transfer your sauce into a blender, then add the basil leaves and purée until completely smooth. The sauce should be a lovely rich red colour.
Pour your sauce back into the saucepan, add your cooked minced beef and stir well. (If you are vegetarian add your roasted vegetables instead)
Leave on very low heat with the lid off until you are ready to assemble your lasagnes.
To make the cheese sauce
Melt the butter (or heat olive oil) in a small saucepan over a medium to low heat.
Slowly add the flour and stir continuously until a paste forms. Cook this on a low heat for about 2 minutes.
Gradually add your milk whisking every bit into the sauce before adding more. Take your time to prevent the sauce from becoming lumpy. If your sauce is too thick add a little more milk until you get the right consistency.
Add in your cheese and stir until it fully melts. Remove sauce from the heat.
To assemble your Baby Lasagnes
When assembling it is really important to ensure the sauces comes to the top of each mini muffin compartment. This prevents the lasagne sheets from going hard when cooked.
Firstly lightly oil a mini muffin tin. Then cut the lasagne sheets with a cookie cutter into circular shapes (my cookie cuter was approx 80mm(8cm) wide). You will need 1 for each baby lasagne.
When you have 24 circle shapes cut place each one in a bowl of hot water for about a minute. This makes it much easier to press into the muffin tin compartments without breaking.
Line each compartment with the circular shapes and then spoon one heaped teaspoon of the meat mixture into each one and then cover with a teaspoon of the cheese sauce. (It is really important to make sure that the sauce come to the top of each one as it prevents them from going hard when cooked).
Sprinkle the top of each baby lasagne with cheddar cheese.
Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling but not brown. Don’t overcook or the pasta goes too hard for little mouths to eat.
Take out of the oven let them sit in the muffin tin until they are just warm. This helps them hold their shape. If there are any bits of pasta that went hard you can just break them off before giving to your little one.
Adult Lasagne – (uses the ingredients left over)
Put half the meat mixture that is left over into a small deep baking dish.
Cover with a layer of fresh or dried pasta then cover with cheese sauce.
Layer the remaining meat mixture and then cover again with another layer of pasta and then add your final layer of white sauce.
Sprinkle the top of the lasagne with cheddar cheese.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the top is golden.