Well here’s a cuisine fusion I never thought I’d do: Italian and Welsh!
Sounds weird, but it turns out it’s a pretty great combination.
I’ve told you all about Welsh rarebit before, but in case you missed it, here’s the super quick overview (spoiler: there’s no rabbits involved). It’s basically a cheesy sauce, often made with beer and / or mustard, that’s usually served on toast, grilled until it goes nice and crispy on top.
But what’s better than bread for serving with cheese? Obviously: pasta.
This Welsh rarebit lasagne uses a rarebit-style cheese sauce instead of a plain old white sauce, making it rich and creamy, and giving it a perfectly crispy topping.
This lasagne has pasta. It’s got cheese. But best of all, it’s got beer.
Again: it sounds a bit weird, I’ll totally give you that. But if you like the taste of beer, you’ll love the taste of this rarebit lasagne.
Just look at that thick, cheesy, beery sauce: how could you not love it?
Half an hour in the oven is all it needs to get its crisp on.
I stuffed my lasagne with veg – mushrooms, carrots, and of course one of the symbols of Wales, the leek! Feel free to mix it up though, lasagne is a great fridge clearer. Just fry up your chosen veggies and layer then them up with the lasagne sheets, glorious Welsh rarebit sauce, and a little bit of tomato sauce to cut through the richness.
This recipe serves about four people, but you might still have some leftovers if your family is as diddy as mine is (there’s only two of us! Plus the dog, but she’s not allowed to eat lasagne).
Don’t despair though; if you don’t fancy eating lasagne two days in a row, just throw the rest in the freezer. Lasagne always freezes nicely, and unlike some less inspiring meals, it won’t linger for months on end in the bottom drawer – you’ll want to eat it the very next week. Just place any leftovers in an air-tight tub, or cover the entire dish tightly with a couple of layers of cling film, and pop it in the freezer.
Or if you want to freeze the entire lasagne rather than just the leftovers, it’s best to freeze it before it’s been cooked – according to freezer experts LG, this helps to make sure it retains as much of its flavour as possible.
When you’re ready to eat your frozen lasagne, just leave it to thaw in the fridge overnight, then reheat it in a moderate oven until piping hot. Good as new!
Do you use your freezer very often for leftovers, or for meals you’ve prepared in advance? Let me know your top tips – or check out some of the tips on the LG website. I love the idea of using frozen fruit in summer drinks instead of ice cubes! I’ll definitely be trying that this summer – perhaps in a cheeky jug of white sangria?
Beery Welsh rarebit lasagne
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 large leek, halved lengthwise then sliced
- 3 portobello mushrooms (or a few smaller mushrooms), diced
- 2 large carrots, grated
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 150 ml pale beer (~ 1/2 cup)
- 150 ml milk (~ 1/2 cup)
- Black pepper
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 180 g mature cheddar cheese, grated (~ 2 cups when grated)
- ~6 sheets of no-boil lasagne
- 6 tbsp favourite tomato sauce
- Fresh parsley, chopped, to serve (optional)
- Heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the chopped leek, diced mushroom, grated carrot, and minced garlic. Cook over a medium heat, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over a fairly low heat. Add the flour, and whisk well for a minute or two. Next, add the beer a little at a time, whisking until smooth each time before adding more. Add the milk in the same way, and season generously. When the sauce has come together, add the mustard and grated cheese, and cook for a couple more minutes until the cheese has melted. The sauce should be smooth and fairly thick (see photo above).
- Heat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
- In a medium-sized baking dish, add a tablespoon or so of tomato sauce, and spread it around - just enough to lightly coat the bottom of the dish. Layer up the lasagne sheets, tomato sauce, vegetables, and rarebit sauce in alternating layers, until all the ingredients have been used - the exact order doesn't really matter. I finished mine with the last few vegetables, and the last few dollops of rarebit sauce. Spread the sauce around gently with the back of a spoon until it nearly covers the baking dish.
- Bake the lasagne for around 30 minutes, until the sauce on top is golden brown, and the pasta is tender (test it with a sharp knife). If the topping is browning more quickly than the pasta is softening, just cover the dish with foil and continue cooking.
- When the lasagne is cooked, allow it to stand for at least 5 minutes before cutting it into portions and serving, topped with fresh parsley if desired.
Note: nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose.