Everybody loves lasagne, its a great special treat but also a great midweek family dish. My way is somewhere in the middle, easy to make but given some. time and love feels like a treat.
Ive tried many Lasagne recipe's and created a "Frankenstein" version that takes the best bits from what I've flound
- 1 kg Good Quality Beef Mince You could go 50/50 with Pork if you wish
- 1 Large Onion Chopped
- 2 Large Carrots Chopped
- 3 Celery sticks Chopped
- 5 Cloves of Garlic
- 2 tbsp Plain Flour
- 200 ml Tomato Puree
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 Small Bunch Thyme (8-10 branches) Dried Thyme can be used in a pinch
- 300 g Parmigiana Reggiano Finely grated
- 250 ml Cream
- 200ml Red Wine
- 1 pkt Good Quality Lasagne Sheets
- Chopped Parsley to garnish
- 50 g Butter
- 50 g Plain Flour
- 500 ml Milk Amount varies dependant on the butter and flour used
- 250 g Cheddar Cheese Grated
- 4 Basil Leaves on the stem
- 400 ml Passata
- 2 cloves Garlic diced
- In a Food Processor you want to pulse. the onion with garlic then the carrot then the celery. You can then set these aside in a bowl together, the aim is make the veg the same consistency as the meat, so dont pulse into a sauce, you want a fine chop.
- In a large pan, add enough Olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.Bring up to a medium heat and add the veg and season well, youll need to cook out all the moisture, this will take roughly 20 mins. Once all the moisture has evaporated the veg will start to slightly colour and you'll get colour on the bottom of the pan.
- Now add the mince meat, and again season well. Break the meat up and mix into the veg.We'll repeat the process of cooking out all the. moisture from the meat, again this will take around 20 mins on a medlow heat. Once the moisture is gone the fond (browning). will start again and this will create all the flavour. Don't be impatient, this process separates an average lasagne from a special one
- Now its time to add the flour, sprinkle over the mixture and stir it in, cook with the flour for about a minute, then create a space in the centre of the pan and add the Puree. in the centre space cook the puree through before. mixing everything together. After a minute or two add the wine to deglaze the pan.Cook off the alcohol, and simmer before adding enough water to cover the mixture. Bring. to a simmer stirring continuously, tasting and seasoning to your taste.
- Add the Bay leaves, tie string around the Thyme and the other end to your pan handle so you can easily retrieve later.This is the stage that makes the difference between a special lasagne or a midweek family dinner.The longer you leave this simmering, the better it tastes, adding water as needed if cooking for the recommended 3-4 hours or getting the consistency your happy with and serving straight away, which is still delicious. Removing the herbs before placing in the lasagne.
- Melt the butter in a med pan, add the flour ad create a roux, the consistency of play doh, gradually add in the milk whisking as you go so as not to create lumps.Ideally you want a consistency like cream. add 2 tbsp of Parmigiano also.Then gradually add the cheddar to the "cheesiness" of your liking. if the cheese thickens too much, add more milk.
Create the Lasagne
- Spoon a small amount of the ragu in the bottom of a large oven dish, cover with lasagne sheets, then cover the sheets with the cheese sauce.Repeat this step as many times as it takes to fill the dish (3 times is ideal), then the final layer of cheese sauce, sprinkle over more grated cheddar and parmigiano.Bake in the oven at 160c320f or until the cheese is golden and bubbling.Do not slice and serve straight away unless you dont mind a messy plate, let the lasagne cool for 20mins ( See next step) before you slice, this will give you neat and easy to serve portions.
- Whilst the Lasagne is cooling we are going to make a "sauce" to sit the Lasagne in.In a small pan, cover the bottom with Olive Oil, add the Basil and garlic, just as the garlic starts to brown (do not burn), add the passata and cook through on a med heat, adding Parmigiana to you taste (I like this Cheesy).
- Spoon enough sauce to cover the bottom of you serving plate, add a slice of Lasagne, generously sprinkle Parmegiana, Black Pepper to tatse and garnish with Parsley….Enjoy