Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t like lasagne? You have? Well they must be weird. We love it and our customers do too.
You will need:
- 1lb and a half (750g) Voisins lean mince beef
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 4 shallots or 2 medium red onions finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- Large carrot finely chopped
- 2 sticks of celery finely chopped
- I courgette finely chopped
- 2 tsps capers finely chopped
- 6 sundried tomato pieces finely chopped
- 2 tins chopped tomato (no need to drain). You can add some fresh tomatoes too if you have then spare
- Half a tube of sundried tomato paste
- Half a tube of concentrated tomato paste
- 2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce
- 2 heaped tsp of dried herbs de Provence or oregano or some sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 tsp sugar (you may need to add a little more than this depending on the sugar variety)
- 2 vegetable stock cubes or 2 tsps stock powder (do not mix with water, just stir in)
- I glass of red wine that makes you smile to open (optional)
- Salt and black pepper to taste and keep tasting as it will be a pleasure in its own right as the flavours develop over the cooking time.
- About 10 sheets of lasagna pasta depending on the size of your large (family-sized deep dish/casserole/pirex)
2) Bechamel sauce
- You can buy a jar of sauce or
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1oz (25g) butter
- 1-2 tbsp Plain flour depending on absorption you want a thick paste when it is stirred in
- Half pint -1 pint milk depending on flour absorption
- 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (or more according to taste)
- 1 bay leaf (optional, added with last of milk but removed at the end)
- Salt and black pepper (to your taste)
3) 2 balls of Mozzarella drained and patted with kitchen towel in advance of use and torn into ‘bite-size’ chunks
If you are Italian, please look away! It’s not your Mama’s traditional recipe, but it is very tasty and well worth the love that you put in. This recipe is very simple if you have a blender which saves a lot of time and effort, but you can hand chop. Lasagne still take time to prepare and the ragu sauce is always better if you can make it the day before and let it rest. This will freeze well too and is excellent spooned over pasta with shavings of parmiggiano.
Heat the Olive oil in a large frying pan or pan and fry off the onions/shallots but don’t allow them to brown (medium heat). Set aside and in the same pan just-brown off the meat. A great quality mince won’t release water so you don’t need to drain off anything. Add Worcester sauce.
Return the onions to the pan and add the garlic. Then add celery, courgetti, carrots. Stir a couple of time to mix ingredients.
Add tomatoes and all the other ingredients and stir well. Turn down the heat, put a lid on and allow to simmer really gently for at least an hour, hopefully more. Gently is the key to this, as you want a well-rounded flavour, especially when using wine. Stir occasionally and taste before modifying the seasoning after an hour. Your kitchen will smell heavenly and this is only from one pot!
Gently heat the oil and butter together over a medium heat and have all of your ingredients ready and within easy reach. When the butter is melted add the flour and stir rapidly. Return to heat, stirring constantly and watch for the slightest darkening in colour as the flour cooks (about 5 mins). Add about a tbsp. milk and stir rapidly. Add and other one and stir allowing it to form into a soft dough before continuing. You want to repeat this until the dough is softened to a sauce. Rapid beating with a wooden spoon is ideal in between additions. When you have a sauce you want it to simmer for a minute with the nutmeg, bay leaf and seasoning, but stir constantly. Adjust thickness with the addition of milk, but you don’t want it to be too thin, so always add a little at a time. Remove from heat and remove bay leaf. Set aside but use promptly as you assemble the dish.
The ragu will set a little when cold, so if you are using it the day after gently heat it so that you can spread it easily. Put a thin covering of Ragu in the bottom of the dish. Lay pasta sheets on top and press down gently to make contact with the juice. I usually snap off the corners to make a good fit and use the extras along the way. Add about a quarter to a third of the Bechamel (depending on how many layers you can fit in). Layer with ragu (more generously this time) and repeat. Your last layer needs to be Bechamel sauce and don’t let any of the ragu seep up if you can. Spread the mozzarella evenly on top and place the lasagna in a preheated oven 190 degrees Celcius for at least 35 mins (this is the minimum required to cook the pasta through), or until gently browned on the top (upto 45 mins)