Tuna lasagne

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Tuna lasagne
(Serves 6)

This week is the last in our series about cooking with herbs. Sharon Walker shares some information about the promotion and growing of parsley and oregano while Chef Niemand makes cheesy ricotta and herb treats and a lovely tuna lasagne.

Ingredients
   
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, smoothed into a paste
15ml chopped fresh herbs, e.g. parsley, oregano
250g button mushrooms, sliced
3x170g    tuna chunks packed in brine
8-10 lasagne sheets

Ingredients for the sauce
   
50g butter
50ml cake flour
250ml milk
1x410g    can tomato and onion mix
  Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cheddar for topping

Method

  1. Butter a 25cm pie dish. In a medium-size frying pan, fry the onion, garlic and herbs until the onion is transparent. Stir in the mushrooms and the tuna chunks.
  2. Make the white sauce by melting the butter in a pan and add the flour to make a roux. Cook for about two minutes and whisk in all the cold milk. Cook for 5 minutes until the sauce is thick and cooked. Add the tomato and onion mix to the white sauce (keep a little aside to top the lasagne) and add the tomato and white sauce to the tuna mixture.
  3. Quickly dip the lasagne sheets in boiling water, then layer the sheets and the tuna mixture. End with the last of the tomato sauce. Bake at 160°C for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven 5 minutes before the end of the baking time and sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese. Serve with roast vegetables and a side salad.


Herb and Ricotta balls

Ingredients
   
500g ricotta cheese
50ml    chopped parsley
30ml chopped oregano
15ml olive oil
  Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Gently mix all the ingredients.
  2. Roll the mixture into bite-sized balls.
  3. Roll the balls in one of the following: chopped herbs, toasted chopped almonds, toasted sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or ground pink peppercorns.

Parsley

Parsley is mostly known for its popular role as a table or dinner plate garnish. But this tasteful herb is highly nutritious and is one of the most popular herbs in the world. Its name derives from the Greek word meaning “rock celery” (it is a relative to celery) and this biennial plant will return to the garden year after year once it is established. There is a secret in sowing parsley, says Sharon. “You need to place the seeds in boiling water, leave it overnight and sow it the next day,” she says. Whereas all other herbs thrive on less water, parley is quite the opposite. “It makes a great edge around a flower garden,” says Sharon. Parsley becomes bitter once it has seeded, so she suggests that you sow a row of parsley every week for a few weeks so that you always have a fresh supply.