Posts Tagged ‘lasagne in clay pot’

las 052

My husband Pete is a genius.

That’s not news to anyone who actually knows him, but even after twenty-five years together, his cleverness still continues to astound me.  He can take a basic concept, turn it over in his head, and create something that no-one has ever considered before.

Take this lasagne for example.  After his initial resistance, Pete has fallen in love with our Römertopf baker.  He and Dredgey have formed a little club, in which they experiment with new dishes in the clay baker, then ring each other up and race next door to critique the finished dish as it’s pulled out of the oven.  Being males, they’ve come up with a set of guidelines on how the terracotta pot should be used.

Rule #1: all the ingredients  have to be cold and uncooked.  I did point out that some of the recipes that came with the pot involved precooking, but the guys have decided that doing so defeats the purpose of using the clay baker. Both of them were discomfited when I browned some chicken prior to adding it in, as that, apparently, is not “in the spirit” of the Römertopf baker.

Rule #2: the pot needs to be washed in the dishwasher. No soaking allowed.  Part of the reason for using the clay baker, I’m told, is its ease of clean up.  Don’t you love men and their rules?

Ok, onto last night’s dinner.  One would think that these parameters don’t really lend themselves to lasagne – a dish where each component is traditionally cooked before assembly, and which usually leaves the cooking vessel covered in baked-on cheese.  Lesser mortals might have been dissuaded, but not my husband.  After all, he’s an engineer. What you see above is his finished lasagne, baked from cold, and made up of almost all uncooked ingredients – fresh pasta, raw mince, ricotta, raw egg and cheese.  The only cooked ingredient was our homemade tomato passata, but this would probably work equally well with a store bought version.

The end result was a joy to eat.  It was absolutely delicious and we didn’t have a white sauce pot, a red sauce pot and a pasta pot to wash up.

I asked Pete to write up the recipe for me, and this is what I got.  Don’t worry, I’ll translate for you.  Big Boy and I laughed at how typically Pete-like the instructions were, so we thought we’d share it with you. I also thought James might find it amusing – he and Pete both have methodical minds…


White Sauce

  • 400g fresh ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • pinch grated nutmeg
  • pepper
  • ½ tsp salt

Mince Sauce

Fresh Pasta Sheets – about ½ kg (you won’t need them all)


  • Mozzarella – 300g – sliced or grated – this is the one we use.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese – 1 cup


Step 1: Soak the Römertopf baker in a sink of cold water for at least 15 – 30 minutes.

Step 2: In a large bowl, mix all the White Sauce ingredients together until well combined.

Step 3: In another large bowl, mix all the Mince Sauce ingredients together, stirring well to break up any lumps in the mince.

Step 4: In the presoaked pot, spoon a third of the Mince Sauce over the base, then cover with a single layer of pasta sheets.  Follow this with half the White Sauce, then a handful of cheese, then another sheet of pasta.  Repeat, ending with a scattering of cheese on the top. Note that you use a third of the mince sauce each time, and a half of the white sauce.

For the persnickety, here is Pete’s layering chart :

  • Cheese (top layer)
  • Mince
  • Pasta
  • Cheese
  • White Sauce
  • Pasta
  • Mince
  • Pasta
  • Cheese
  • White Sauce
  • Pasta
  • Mince (bottom layer)


Step 5: Put the soaked lid on the pot, then place in a cold oven and raise the temperature to 200C.  Bake for 1½ hours.  Allow to rest for 15 – 30 minutes before serving, to allow the liquids to absorb into the dish. 

Note: check on the lasagne after the first hour of baking.   If it’s really wet (it will be moist, but shouldn’t be swimming), you might want to let it cook for a bit with the lid off to reduce the excess liquid.  We didn’t need to do this with our dish (ie. we cooked ours for the entire time with the lid on), but it can vary depending on the moisture content of the mince and passata.

las 009

Oh, and in case you’re wondering – see that dirty pot in the top picture, complete with burnt edges where the dish overflowed slightly?  It went in the dishwasher without any presoaking whatsoever.  This is how it came out.  Not completely clean, but oh so close that I really can’t complain…


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: