I have thought about making my own fresh pasta for years. I use the excuse that I don’t have enough room in my shoebox of a kitchen, which is really just an excuse. It’s the next thing on my hit list of kitchen tries, even if I had to spread it out over the dining table to get it done I am determined to try it.
I tend to stick to the same recipes when I make pasta sauce. I have only ever made lasagne once and failed miserably. I remember thinking I could simply layer the dish up and bang it in the oven to only discover when it was supposedly ready that the lasagne sheets were rock hard. There started and ended my lasagne cooking attempts.
I saw these little delightful looking lasagne cups popping up in my Facebook newsfeed a few times and they got my attention. I couldn’t remember who had posted them or who had made them, so I did a search and found these. I used my own lasagne recipe (the original dish sucked on account of stiff as a board sheets but my sauce is pretty unreal) and I got the idea of the lasagne sheet layering in a muffin tin from Lauren’s Latest. Thank you Lauren!
I have to tell you guys, these things are darn finicky to make. Are they worth it? Definitely! They’re super delicious and let’s face it, who doesn’t love quirky little individuals of a traditional recipe. I think it just gives you permission to eat more, you know, they’re small so they don’t really count. I don’t know how long they actually took to make, I had a rare day off so I wasn’t in a hurry nor was I timing it. I used instant lasagne sheets and just popped them into boiling water for a few minutes until they became pliable enough to bend but not too soft. Again, I didn’t time how long they were in the water, I just checked them every few minutes. I’m sorry I can’t give specifics but the fact I actually offer measurements is a feat in itself, I usually just slap everything together without measuring. See what I do for you guys?!
I started to get the hang of shaping the sheets about halfway through the dozen, my first few were pretty ugly. But who cares, they taste fantastic! I was relishing in the fact that when I pulled the tray out of the oven there was all this bubbling, oozing cheese and sauce and crispy pasta edges. I sniggered to myself, knowing if my Mum was around she would be elbowing me out the way to get to the crispy edges. But they were mine, all mine!
Ingredients // makes 12 lasagne cups
15 lasagne sheets – I used 6 curly lasagne sheets (the long rectangular ones) to go around the cups and 9 normal sheets cut into small squares for the base and layers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
250g mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 sticks celery, trimmed and chopped
A good handful of fresh thyme leaves
500g beef mince
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
Sea salt and black pepper
Small bunch of fresh basil
200ml creme fraiche
1/2 cup ricotta
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 lemon, juiced
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
Grated Mozzarella for topping
Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, carrot, mushrooms, celery and thyme and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until softened. Stir occasionally.
Add mince and brown for a few minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and 1 cup water. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes stirring every so often. Remove lid and cook for a further 20 minutes until nice and thick and sauce has reduced. Remove from heat and add torn basil leaves.
Preheat oven to 200C.
Drop lasagne sheets into boiling water for a few minutes until they are bendable but not too soft. If you are using normal lasagne, cook in salted water for a few minutes less than the packet instructions. Drain and set aside. Don’t lay them on top of each other or they stick together. Found that out the hard way!
Combine all cheese sauce ingredients well in a bowl.
Grease a 12 portion muffin tin. Cut 6 long curly lasagne sheets down the centre lengthways to make 12 pieces. Line the edges of each cup with 1 cut sheet (so wrap it around to make a circle). Cut some flat sheets into squares big enough to cover the base, press one into the base of each cup (inside the curly circular outer part). Spoon a tablespoon of the mince mixture into each, then a generous tablespoon of cheese sauce on top. Place another cut piece of pasta on top of the sauce. Then add another spoonful of mince mixture, then cheese sauce, then pasta sheet again. Finally place some mince mixture, cheese sauce and sprinkle with grated Mozzarella. I used up every last bit of my mince mixture, so don’t be stingy on the filling. You want the filling to almost spill out when cooking so fill the cups to the top.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the pasta edges are fight-over-crisp and the sauce and cheese is deliciously bubbling. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving with a delightful fresh salad. Or you can just do as I did and stand over the kitchen bench shovelling them into your gob.
I didn’t have any issue getting the cups out of the tin. If any of them do stick pop a spoon gently into the tin and lift the cup out.
Would I make them again given how finicky they are to make? Absolutely!