I want to start a revolution. A pressure cooking revolution. The slow cooker has had its day and now it's the turn of the pressure cooker. The slightly scary sounding vessel which acts like it is about to explode (and indeed will if you try taking to lid off before you have let it release all its pent up
frustration steam) needs some attention. Who is with me? Ok, so half of that was a lie. Slow cookers have nowhere near had their time but I'm telling the truth when I imply that pressure cookers need a lot of credit too. They speed up meals drastically, keep lots of nutrients in which would be lost via steaming or boiling and cut down on washing up. What is there not to appeal? All you have to do is get over the scary sound that it makes when the sealed unit reaches its pressure and starts screaming its head off.
My mum has always used a pressure cooker. It took me a good number of years to stop being frightened of the noise it makes as the pressure inside builds but as soon as I did, I joined her in singing its praises. Mum uses her pressure cooker for all sorts of things - to cook several types of veg at once with the potatoes for mashing underneath the trivet, to start off a baked ham so it doesn't take all day, to give braising steak a boost before it gets cosy with the gravy and other trappings, soups, stews, chilli.....and lasagne. Yes, lasagne in a pressure cooker. Well, the meat sauce at least. And boy is it good.
Mum has always made her lasagne really simple. Minced beed, onion, garlic, herbs, seasoning and tomatoes. No extra vegetables or different types of meat. The cheese sauce is always made with Red Leicester and a little bit of mustard. For me it is perfect. I've had different lasagnes in restaurants and have always enjoyed them (apart from one tasteless mistake in Gloucester but let's ignore that) but Mum's extra saucy, tomatoey recipe is y favourite. So this is the one I present to you now. And why not when it is everything a lasagne should be.
A rich, herby minced beef sauce swimming in a tomato pool sit flush with a buttery, slightly sweet, slightly tangy yet still creamy cheese boosted by a little bit of English mustard. Interleaved between the two are sheets of lasagne pasta which bake in the oven, absorbing the liquids of both to meld the two contrasting sauces together in a cerremony of delights. A final layer of gooey baked cheese adds a final flourish. It is no wonder it is my favourite dinner of all time. So much so that I am willing to risk horrendous pictures taken with glaring overhead lighting to bring you the virtues of my mum's lasagne.
The best part is that the pressure cooker speeds up the process so you needn't spend all afternoon making it. While the meat sauce is pressure cooking you can be making that sinful but wonderful silken cheese dressing then it's a simple job of layering up in dishes and giving the dish a final bake to bring to whole thing to bubbling joy. You won't want to waste a drop so make sure you serve with crusty bread to mop up every molecule of goodness. Maybe not the best thing for a January diet but who cares when something is this good.
Use a pressure cooker to speed up the process of making this wonderful dish. Layers of flavourful tomato mea sauce meld with gooey cheese and baked to perfection lasgane pasta sheets.
- 1lb minced beef
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- Pepper to taste
- 0.5 tsp each basil and oregano
- 1 beef or veg stock cube dissolved in half pint boiling water
- 1 large tin of chopped tomatoes + a good squeeze tomato puree (or 500g passata)
- 1oz flour
- 0.75 pint milk
- 1oz butter
- 4oz cheese, grated (Red Laicester is good, as is mature cheddar or even a mixture. I often add a scoop of Philadelphia too)
- 1 tsp mustard
- Dried lasagne sheets
- Grated cheese
Instructions1. First make the meat sauce. Add all the ingredients to the pressure cooker and seal the lid on. Over a high heat bring to high pressure. When high pressure is reached, reduce the heat by half and time ten minutes then release the pressure by running the vessel under cold water before removing the lid. If you want a thicker sauce, stir in a paste of cornflour and a little water and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile make the cheese sauce using the traditional method or this cheats method. In a saucepan, stir a splash of milk into the flour to makie a smooth paste. Gradually stir in the rest of the milk then add the butter. Over a medium/high heat melt stir the sauce until the butter melts and the sauce begins to bubble and thicken. If it begins to go lumpy either sieve out the lumps or whisk like mad to make them disappear. Once thickened, remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and mustard until melted.
3. Set the oven to 200 C/180 C fan. In a large baking dish or individual ovenproof dishes lay out sheets of lasagne so the base is covered. Add a layer of the meat sauce then a layer of cheese sauce. Repeat until the dish is full or the components are used up, making sure to end with a layer of lasagne followed by cheese sauce. Don't worry if it isn't neat.
4. Sprinkle on the extra grated cheese and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until everything is bubbling. Serve straight away or let stand in the oven with it turned off for a little while to let the pasta absorb more of the juices.
I'm sharing this recipe with Jacqueline's Bookmarked Recipes at Tinned Tomatoes because I always have this bookmarked from my mum as it is my all time favourite meal. Pressure cooking saves on money so is perfect for Credit Crunch Munch, this month hosted by Helen at Fuss Free Flavours, alternatively hosted by Camilla at Fab Food 4 All. Also, Lucy from Supergolden Bakes hosts CookBlogShare and Emily from A Mummy Too hosts Recipe of the Week for all sorts of recipes.