For the first time in weeks, I am sitting in front of the computer without a fan blowing straight at my face. We have experienced such ridiculous heat these last few weeks and I honestly thought I wouldn’t be able to cope much longer. When it’s already 30+°c at 7 in the morning, you know you’ll be exhausted by midday. Luckily for us, the rain has arrived and have cooled down the whole situation. I am thankful because we are facing a horrible drought in South Africa and our farms, animals and plants have all been suffering but I’m also thankful because I can actually face being in the kitchen again. Last week was a complete right off because switching on the hob for more than 5 minutes was unbearable. We lived off fruit, salads and sandwiches and I can see my husband and kids are very much sick of it at the moment.
A few days ago I roasted a lovely hunk of pork until it was fall-apart-tender and used majority of it for pulled pork sandwiches but I had so much left-over and decided to use the pork that hadn’t been doused in barbecue sauce in a creamy lasagna of sorts. This is more just like a layered pasta bake because there’s not much of a traditional lasagna to be found here but I’m sure you’ll forgive me for calling it that. Anyway, because this is a rather bland-looking dish (so much beige!), you have to make sure the flavours punch you and your guests in the face. Nobody like beige looking and tasting food, do they?
I made a rich bechamel sauce flavoured with bay, white pepper and a little nutmeg and layered this with the shredded pork, lasagna sheets and slices of smoked provolone. The smokiness of the provolone added some good depth and interest to the finished dish and topped with a few sage, this lasagna was a real showstopper. Serve it with a green salad generously dressed in a zingy, zippy dressing to cut through the richness and don’t forget the ice cold beers. This is rib-sticking, comfort food at its best.
for the bechamel sauce
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 3-4 cups full cream/whole milk
- 1 bay leaf
- generous grinding of fresh white pepper
- 1/4 nutmeg finely grated
- salt to taste
for the lasagna
- 3-4 cups left-over shredded pork roast
- 100 g smoked provolone sliced
- 250 g approximately 12 lasagna sheets
- handful fresh sages leaves drizzled with olive oil
- 50 g grated Parmesan cheese
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°c.
- To make the bechamel, melt the butter then whisk in the flour to create a roux. Cook for 30 seconds then slowly start whisking in the milk. You might not need all the milk, rather use too little and thin it out a little later.
- Add the bay leaf, pepper and nutmeg then allow to simmer gently.
- When the sauce has thickened and all the flour is cooked through, it's ready. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Layer the lasagna sheets with the bechamel, the shredded pork and provolone cheese. Repeat until all the ingredients have been used.
- Top the lasagna with the grated Parmesan cheese and the sage leaves.
- Place in the oven and allow to bake for 30-45 minutes until the pasta is cooked through and the lasagna is golden brown and crisp on top.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.