Recipe: Lasagne

This is one of my go-to meals when I want something filling, scrumptious, and comforting. I absolutely love Italian food, and pasta is one of the main staples of my weekly meal plans, but I have to say, lasagne tops everything for me.

Whenever I make a lasagne, or indeed a bolognaise, I like to prepare all the ingredients beforehand so I’m ready to throw them into the pan as they’re needed. I find this makes it easier to develop the sauce quickly, but it’s completely up to you.

Ingredients

For the meat sauce

  • 750g of mixed beef and pork mince
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 4 big cloves of garlic, crushed and diced
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1tbsp of tomato puree
  • 1tbsp of garlic puree
  • 1 courgette, cut into small cubes
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1tbsp fresh basil
  • 1tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 100ml of red wine
  • 1tsp of olive oil

For the bechamel

  • 50g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1pt of milk
  • 1tsp of ground nutmeg

Everything else

  • Lasagne sheets
  • 100g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 50g parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and Black Pepper

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan, add salt and pepper, and then throw in the onion and the garlic. Fry over a medium heat for about three minutes until the onions are starting to soften.
  2. Add the beef and pork mince and fry until browned, then add in the diced courgette.
  3. Pour over the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and garlic puree, and stir together.
  4. Add in the fresh and dried herbs and the vegetable stock cube, followed by the wine. Leave to simmer so the flavours develop.
  5. Next, make the bechamel sauce. In a saucepan, melt the butter, and add the flour once it is melted to make a roux. Stir together quickly once you add the flour to ensure the mixture doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add the milk and nutmeg, and allow to simmer to thicken, stirring occasionally.
  7. Once your bechamel sauce has thickened, it’s time to start assembling the lasagne. I know not everybody does this, but I’m a fan of putting a layer of lasagne sheets across the bottom of the dish – I find it makes it easier to slice.
  8. Layer the mixture as lasagne sheets – meat sauce – bechamel sauce – cheese – lasagne sheets – meat – bechamel – cheese – lasagne sheets – bechamel cheese. Put a bit of cracked black pepper across the top and put it in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the top has browned.
  9. I tend to serve this with either spinach, if I’m feeling like I need an extra bit of goodness,  or garlic bread, if I’m feeling like I need an extra bit of stodge.

TOP TIP: I find that if you want a more solid slice of lasagne, the best thing to do is cook it until it is just starting to brown on top, then allow to cool, then reheat and cook again until the top is golden brown and crispy.

This is obviously only if you have time to cook it twice, but I find that it makes for a nicer slice, and there’s nothing wrong with leaving the flavours to develop longer.

Enjoy!

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