I know this looks terribly fiddly and like it’s going to be way too much trouble for a week night. And in some ways, it is. Because of that, I decided to eliminate the whole bechamel/cheese sauce part of normal lasagna making and substituted it with a very easy creme fraiche ‘sauce’ which can be made in a minute.
To save even more time, you can buy ready-made fresh lasagna sheets. They aren’t easily available but I’ve seen them at a few supermarkets and I know Food Lover’s Market has most of the time. This just makes this recipe even easier to do as you don’t have to worry about cooking the lasagna sheets before hand. That being said, I only cooked my sheets for 5 minutes. All you want is for it to soften enough for you to be able to press them into the muffin tray.
I used my jumbo muffin tray but if you only have a standard 12-hole muffin pan, then by all means use it. You’ll probably only need one sheet of lasagna in that case. I served the Lasagna cups with a green salad and crusty garlic bread and my family were thoroughly impressed.
12 lasagna sheets, cooked until just softened
500g (17.64 ounces) lean beef mince
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2tsp crushed garlic
6 tomatoes, finely chopped (or use 1 can of chopped tomatoes with 2tbsn tomato paste)
1/2 cup beef stock
2 Bay leaves
1tsp thyme leaves
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup creme fraiche
1/2 cup mascarpone
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup pecorino, finely grated
salt & pepper to taste
grated mozzarella, for topping
- In a large pot, fry the mince until it’s nicely browned. Remove from the pot and set aside.
- In the same pot, fry the onion, carrots, celery and garlic until soft and translucent.
- Add the mince back to the pot along with the tomatoes, beef stock, bay, thyme and sugar.
- Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, covered.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°c. Grease and line (with baking paper) a 6-hole jumbo muffin tray.
- Combine all the ‘white sauce’ ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- Adjust the seasoning of the meat sauce.
- To make the lasagna cups, press 2 lasagna sheets into the prepared muffin tray.
- Place a few spoonfuls of the meat sauce into the lasagna cup, followed by a bit of the white sauce.
- Top with grated mozzarella and place in the pre-heated oven.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbling and the exposed pasta has gone crispy (my favourite part).
- Serve with salad and crusty bread.