I walked into the flat tonight to be greeted not only by my husband (on his final day of leave) but by the close-your-eyes-breathe-in-and-smile smell of a warm, rich tomato bolognese sauce – the beginning of a lasagna which he casually mentioned he would be cooking for dinner tonight.
I have to admit it irks me when someone else is using my kitchen (my attempts at self improvement over the years has not helped my control-freak nature in the kitchen), and it also irks me that he uses my recipe book (which, admittedly, he bought me for Christmas years ago) and then adds his own tweaks to the recipe, but oh. my. god. Just the very smell of it has made me hungry and rushing him to make the bechamel sauce so that we can eat – I cannot wait !
Will write more once it’s been devoured!
True to smell, it was delicious – and doubly so because someone cooked it for me.
Original recipe is by Stephanie Alexander – I’ve made a few tweaks as I like my sauce thicker. My recipe below – give yourself a good 2-3 hours to cook from start to finish:
For the bolognese sauce:
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
800g minced beef
200g streaky bacon, chopped
4 teaspoons plain flour
1 cup of red wine
800g tinned tomatoes
4 tbl tomato paste
2 bay leaves
nutmeg and seasoning
Saute onion, celery and garlic in oil in a large saucepan until softened. Add bacon and fry for a few minutes before adding beef to brown. Sprinkle in flour and stir until well mixed. Add wine, season with salt and pepper and nutmeg and increase heat to boil off the alcohol. Add tinned tomatoes, tomato paste and bay leaves and simmer for an hour, stirring from time to time. Season to taste.
For the bechamel sauce:
60g plain flour
salt, white pepper and freshly grated nutmeg
Heat milk to scalding and set aside. Melt butter in saucepan and stir in the flour and cook, stirring, to make a roux. Gradually add in the hot milk and sir until sauce thickens and is very smooth. Cook for a further 5-7 minutes on low.
Preheat oven to 180C. Oil a baking dish and line with pasta. Cover pasta with a third of the bechamel sauce, and then cover this with a third of the bolognese sauce. Add a second layer of pasta, another portion of bechamel, more bolognese and then the third layer of pasta. Cover with the last layer of bechamel and bolognese and sprinkle generously with grated cheddar and parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven about 45 minutes, when the lasagna is golden and bubbling.