Because nothing says Caribbean like a steaming plate of pasta, bolognese sauce and oozy cheese. It may be 86°F/30° C in the shade but I’ve had a hankering for lasagna since I got to Barbados. At the end of the day, when you crank up the air conditioning and Chromecast Netflix, tropical lasagna starts to make sense.
Herewith my recipe:
- 10 oz/300 g minced beef clod (don’t gag it’s really ground meat)
- 1/3 small butternut squash, diced
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 small eggplant, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 26 oz/800 g canned, whole tomatoes
- 1/2 pack Barbadian fresh herb mix, chopped
- Goya Adobo All Purpose Seasoning, to taste
Sauté beef clod (I love saying beef clod) until browned. Drain fat and set beef clod aside. In the same pan, sauté squash, onion, eggplant until softened. Add garlic and sauté for a few minutes until aromatic. Add tomatoes and Barbadian herb/pepper mix. Simmer for 40 minutes. Taste and add Goya seasoning if necessary.
NOTE: Barbadian fresh herb mix contains thyme, rosemary, green onion, parsley, and a couple of scotch bonnet peppers. It can be found in the refrigerated produce section of any Barbadian grocery store, next to the Earthbound Farms baby arugula.
NOTE #2: Goya Adobo seasoning is mostly salt (with cumin, garlic, black pepper, oregan and turmeric). Under-season the bolognese because the pasta will get salty.
Walk to the beach and get 4 quarts/4 L of Caribbean sea water. Add 1 pint/500 ml cold tap water. Bring to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles al dente – cooked but firm. Drain.
NOTE: Pantry moths seem to be pretty common in Barbadian grocery stores so you may get a bit of protein with your noodles.
8 oz/250 g Cut and Wrap cheese, grated
NOTE: The only cheese commonly eaten in Barbados is “cut and wrap” cheese from New Zealand. This mild cheddar comes in giant blocks and is cut and wrapped in clingfilm by the grocery store.
Put a spoonful of bolognese in the bottom of a casserole dish. Begin layering noodles and sauce. Add a sprinkling of grated cheese onto each layer of sauce. Top last layer of noodles with remaining cheese and bake in a 375°F/185°C oven for 45 minutes.
Set air conditioning to 75°F/24° C and Netflix to Jo Frost: Extreme Parental Guidance (surely one of the trashiest British reality shows). Plate up the tropical lasagna and serve with fresh local tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers and an icy cold Banks beer.