Tag Archives: lasagna

Lasagna

Lasagna for me is pure molten meaty cheesy goodness on my plate.

There are probably thousands of different recipes out there for this but here is mine – it does take some time, because you essentially have to cook it twice, but you can always freeze cooked or uncooked portions and enjoy again later.

For the bolognaise sauce:

  • 600g minced beef
  • 1 large brown onion, finely diced
  • 2 sticks celery, finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced
  • 1 stick fresh rosemary
  • 800g tinned tomatoes
  • 1 tin tomato paste
  • 2 glasses red wine
  • Lasagna sheets
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  1. In a large saucepan, sweat the onions, then add the celery, carrots and garlic and fry over a gentle heat till soft
  2. In the meantime, brown the mince (you can do them in batches – make sure you don’t overcrowd the frying pan or you will end up boiling the mince instead of actually browning the meat and creating that lovely caramelisation)
  3. Add the mince to the vegetables
  4. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, rosemary and red wine and bring to the boil
  5. Simmer gently for anywhere between 1-4 hours

For the bechamel sauce:

  • 600ml milk, heated till scalding
  • 60g butter
  • 60g flour
  • pinch nutmeg
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  1. Melt the butter and add the flour, stirring constantly so you have a roux
  2. Slowly incorporate the milk on high heat, adding in small amounts and stirring constantly (the roux will suck up the milk and it will start with an almost play-doh consistency, hang in there, it turn out right in the end)
  3. Lower to the lowest flame and cook for 6-8 minutes
  4. Season with salt/pepper/nutmeg

To make the lasagna:

  1. Oil an oval or rectangular lasagna dish (you can also use a baking tin) and place lasagna sheets on the bottom
  2. Cover completely with a third of the bolognaise sauce
  3. Top the bolognaise with a third of the bechamel sauce
  4. Add another layer of pasta and repeat twice more
  5. Cover the top liberally with cheddar cheese
  6. Put into an 180C oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling

Lovely to come home to

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:

600ml milk

60g butter

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.

To assemble:

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.