Nothing screams easy and hearty comfort food like these lasagne roll ups do

Published: November 8, 2017
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Technically, lasagne did not originate from Italy as its origin can be traced way back to ancient Greece. PHOTO: ARHAMA SIDDIQA

Back during my Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) days, if you asked anyone what two of my all-time favourite food items were, their prompt reply would be roghni naan and pasta. Give me these two items and I will devour them happily, at any point in time.

I have been in hiatus mode for quite a while now. I literally walk into the kitchen and eat whatever I find due to zero motivation to cook whatsoever. This lull was broken over the last weekend (thankfully), when the weather in Islamabad turned a full 180 degrees. Now such weather demands warm comfort food. Since it was also time for dinner, my stomach was rumbling, and like any good pasta-lover, I decided to treat myself.

After a quick investigation of the pantry, I came up with lasagne strips, minced chicken and enough ingredients to make a basic white sauce. I didn’t want to prepare a whole dish since it was a home alone situation that particular night, so I thought why not do lasagne roll ups. And all this was done within an hour, just in time to catch an episode of Tumhari Maryam.

I always like researching up on the origins of dishes I make. I was surprised to know that lasagne basically got its name from the method through which it was made and not from its ingredients.

Lasagne did not originate from Italy, as many believe, but its origin can actually be traced way back to ancient Greece. The name lasagne is derived from the Greek word ‘laganon’, the first known form of pasta. When the Romans overthrew Greece and occupied the country around 146 BC, they set about adopting the local knowledge, culture, language and food as their own.

Laganon was not the traditional lasagne as we know it with traditional Italian ingredients, but it was composed of layers of pasta and sauce. So, while the Greeks did not invent the hearty pasta dish we know and love, they at least inspired one of the world’s oldest pastas.

Coming back to the recipe, here goes:

Ingredients:

Filling:

Chicken mince – ½ kg

Butter – 1 tbsp

Flour – 1 tbsp

Tomato paste – 1 tbsp

Garlic – 1 tbsp

Oregano – 1 tsp

Parsley – 2 tbsp

Salt – ½ tsp

Black pepper – 1 tsp

Onions – 2 tbsp (finely chopped)

Oil – 2 tbsp

Water – 1 cup

Cream – ½ cup

Method:

1.Heat oil and sauté onions for two minutes.

2.Add butter, garlic and chicken mince. Fry till the colour changes.

3.Add flour, water, tomato paste, black pepper and salt. Cook till the water is half dried up.

4.Now add cream and herbs and let it simmer for two minutes.

Ingredients:

White sauce:

Flour – 3 tbsp

Water – 1 cup

Milk – 1 cup

White pepper – 1 tsp

Salt – ½ tsp

Cheddar cheese – 1 cup

Butter – 1 tbsp

Oil – 1 tbsp

Cream – ½ cup

Method:

1.Heat butter and oil in a pan, add flour and cook for half a minute.

2.Add milk and keep stirring so lumps do not form.

3.Add water, white pepper, cream, salt and chedder cheese.

4.Cook till the sauce gets thick.

Assembling

1.Take boiled lasagne strips one at a time, spread the chicken filling and roll them.

 

2.Grease a baking dish and place the rolled strips.

3.Add white sauce and sprinkle parsley.

 

4.Sprinkle cheddar cheese generously over the dish.

5.Grill in oven for 15 minutes till a golden brown colour appears on the top.

Enjoy!

All photos: Arhama Siddiqa

Arhama Siddiqa

Arhama Siddiqa

The author is a LUMS and University of Warwick Alumnus and is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI). She calls herself a bibliophile,a dreamer and an avid foodie.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Patwari

    Well, there ! Back to your favorite past time. Cooking up a storm. Your blog
    was missed.
    There was a disconcerting sentence “zero motivation to cook whatsoever”
    Remember now, cooking is a passion with you. So whatever prompted
    the hiatus, hopefully, is gone. Pretty sure you had your good reasons
    As usual the user friendly recipes, photos etc. are par excellence.
    Well, excuse moi, got some cooking to do. The kiichen is in sight.Recommend

  • Donga bonga

    Were u super celebrity that ‘everone’ in LUMS knew your favourite food.
    Recommend

  • Parvez

    I thought Arhama has to have gone to the North Pole ….but apparently not.
    Pasta, cheese, white sauce …mushy stuff all the things children love and surprisingly me too. While reading through the piece I noticed your use the word ‘ pantry ‘ …. and that brought back my childhood days. We actually had a pantry ( a room inside the main house because the kitchen was outside the house ) . Today, at least in Karachi, the trend is to have a kitchen and then a ‘ grease ‘ kitchen….times have changed.
    Do you know what I did not like about the recipe, was the use of minced chicken…..beef or mutton would have been more tasty….but then thats me.
    I liked the bit on the history of Lasagne ….. Recommend

  • Hamsid

    Hello!!
    I was away for a whole 5 weeks seems like months now!
    I agree about using beef or mutton but I only had chicken that one day.
    Times have changed indeed =/
    you had a whole room ?! I have a few dedicated cupboards ! I am thinking of starting my own blog to go along with this one, name suggestions please?Recommend

  • Hamsid

    hello hello !
    I feel so loved right now =p
    Yeah there was a “phase” which hopefully is gone for good so no more hiatuses IA
    and name suggestions for blog please?Recommend

  • Hamsid

    its called having excellent social skills ….Recommend

  • Parvez

    Suggest : This & That…..and food as well.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Nothing is coming to mind right now. Since it is going to
    be a food blog, must have a catchy name. Easy to remember.
    [Taking that it will be in English, can be in Urdu too. Or both.]
    ‘Arhama’s Pantry’,
    ‘Arhama’s Farm to Table’, or Khet ka Khanna
    ‘Food Unchained’ …’Dal wali from Isloo’
    Desi and English Khanna, or
    ‘The Cook From Warwick’, maybe the Khansama wali from Warwick….
    this is going off the track now!
    ‘Lazeez aur Behtareen’, Peshawari maal, ‘Qissa Khawani Table’.
    ‘Arhama’s Dasturkhwan’, ‘Pickwick Dishes’ ‘Dickensian Dishes
    ‘Pakistan, one plate at a time’….[enough room for your repertoire]
    ‘Mongol Kitchen’, Punjabi Kitchen. Karachiwala Kitchen….
    this can go on for 10 pages….hope you are taking this in jest!Recommend

  • Hamsid

    haha thank you thank you I shall keep all these suggestions in mind if my plan ever materialises =pRecommend

  • Donga bonga

    hahahaha…..Recommend

  • Patwari

    See, it might escape your sensibilities, but unlike
    YOU, there are students who are more popular
    and well known in a university or college, even
    school. This happens all over the world.
    Why so? Because they have great people skills
    and communication skills, which, in any language
    is an advantage and a superior skill to posses….
    You are able to follow so far? Nope, nyet, nada, naheen…
    Say, that irritating noise, more like braying, is that coming
    from you?Recommend

  • Parvez

    When I read ‘ ….was away for 5 weeks ‘ something struck me as wrong, so I did a bit of research. ET shows your last blog as dated 31st.August and this one 8th.November ……. making 9 week.Recommend

  • Donga bonga

    Which weeds u r taking these days?Recommend

  • Patwari

    Correction. You don’t ‘take’ weeds. You smoke weeds.
    So, you have been ‘taking weeds all these years’? With
    a glass of water? Or with your daily bowl of cornflakes?
    Apparently nobody took the trouble to show you the right way.
    There is a deep disconnect between YOU and everything else.
    Say, make a pilgrimage to Bhit Shah’s mausoleum during the
    annual Urs. They will show you how to smoke there.
    Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai’s Shrine is located in Sindh.
    Hope you know where Sindh is.Recommend

  • Hamsid

    haha very nice *appreciative applause* for catching me out there!
    Yeap last blog was AGES ago- because of the influx of new movies I think, But I should have specified – recently 5 weeks abroad and a 4 week cumulative hiatus as someone put it =pRecommend

  • Hamsid

    peace peace – food blog remember lets keep it to food and other such ‘amenities’ shall weRecommend

  • Donga bonga

    Surely you are an expert ‘weeder’, my applogies for being naive on this.

    Btw you learned weed smoking at bhit or at LUMS…Recommend