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 Lasagne Recipe

Lasagne. Click picture to enlarge.

The are many, many variations of lasagne recipes but the basic idea is to alternate sheets of pasta with a filling, normally beef based but often fish or vegetarian.

One thing all these lasagne recipes have in common is that they taste 10 times better than the shop bought ones and you have the assurance that you know exactly what went into your lasagne!

KEY POINTS

 Preparation Time:  25 mins  Cooking Time:   1 hour
 How Difficult  Difficult  Freeze?   Yes
 Servings

4 portions

INGREDIENTS
The ingredients below will make enough for 4 servings. Serve with a salad.

Lasagne Recipe ingredients. Click picture to enlarge.
Illustration only, rely on the ingredients list below!


Ingredients for Lasagne

Imperial

Metric

Lasagne sheets

12 ounces

340 g

Minced beef 8 ounces 230 g
Large can of chopped tomatoes 14 ounces 400 g
1 medium onion - -
1 medium carrot - -
2 garlic cloves - -
1 teaspoon fresh oregano (or ½ teaspoon dried) - -
1 heaped teaspoon tomato purée - -
1 glass white wine    
Chicken stock (1 cube) ½ pint 280 ml
5 tablespoons olive oil - -
Salt and pepper    
Ingredients for Cheese Sauce (Bechamal)

Imperial

Metric

Butter

2 ounces

55 g

Plain flour 2 ounces 55 g
Cheddar cheese 4 ounces 115 g
Spinach or Broccoli 4 ounces 115 g
Bay leaf 1 1
Milk 1 pint 560 ml
Double cream 2 tablespoons 2 tablespoons
Whole black peppercorns 10 10

COOKING EQUIPMENT
Ovenproof dish - ours was 25cm x 18cm and 5cm deep.
1 medium frying pan
2 small / medium saucepans for the Béchamel sauce
1 large saucepan for the lasagne pasta

PREPARATION
Peel and finely chop the onion.
Peel and crush the garlic cloves.
Peel and finely chop the carrot.
Grate the cheese.
If using broccoli, cut the top (florets) off and finely chop it.
Grease the ovenproof dish.

Method For Lasagne
  
Lasagne ingredients. Click picture to enlarge. Prepare the ingredients before starting:
Peel and finely chop the onion.
Peel and crush the garlic cloves.
Peel and finely chop the carrot.
Grate the cheese.
If using broccoli rather than spinach, cut the top (florets) off and finely chop them.

 
Add two (not all five) tablespoons of olive oil to the frying pan on a medium heat. When it's warmed (a minute or so depending on the pan) add the garlic and onions. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the onions are light brown.

Add the carrots, oregano and the minced beef.

Lasagne vegetables cooking. Click picture to enlarge.

 
Lasagne ingredients. Click picture to enlarge Break up the mince as it fries - a wooden spoon makes an easy job of this.

Keep turning the ingredients to ensure they are all cooked. The idea is for all of the mince to turn brown which should take around five to six minutes.

 
Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, wine and stock to the frying pan. Add salt and pepper to your taste. Mix the contents of the frying pan well.

On a medium heat (the mixture should be just, but only just bubbling) cook for around 45 minutes. This will reduce the mixture to something like bolognaise sauce thickness. Stir occasionally during the cooking.

Lasagne ingredients. Click picture to enlarge. Copyright David Marks

 
Lasagne recipe ingredients. Click picture to enlarge. Copyright David Marks. About 15 minutes before the minced beef is cooked start to make the Béchamel sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low to medium heat then slowly add in the flour stirring all the time a fork. The mixture you have now is called 'roux'. At the same time pour the milk into another saucepan, add the bay leaf and peppercorns and gently bring to the boil (stirring frequently).


It gets a bit busy now! At the same time as cooking the Béchamel sauce, cook the lasagne past sheets according to the packet instructions, this normally involves boiling the pasta sheets for 6 minutes or so.

A word of advice at this stage. Some packets of pasta sheets claim they can be used straight from the pack, it certainly didn't work for us! The pasta sheets in the pictures below were boiled as normal. Without boiling, the pasta sheets remained tough and a bit cardboard like.

A second piece of advice; when cooking the pasta, add 3 generous tablespoons of olive oil (it's included in the ingredients list). This should go some way to stopping the pasta from sticking together and forming a congealed mass. Keep stirring and separating the pasta as it boils to help as well. Be prepared to use the pasta as soon as it's cooked. This is not difficult because the sauce and minced beef mixture can stand for a few minutes if the pasta is still cooking

Immediately the milk starts to bubble remove it from the heat. Slowly pour the milk (without the bay leaf or peppercorns) into the butter and flour mix (roux) stirring or whisking continuously. Add the cream and mix in well. Split the mixture in half into the two pans. Add 85 g / 3 oz the grated cheese (not all of it) to one pan and the spinach / broccoli to the other. Stir both and season with a little salt and pepper.

Bechamel sauce ingredients. Click picture to enlarge.

 
Lasagne ingredients. Click picture to enlarge. Copyright David Marks Start the oven off at 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Spoon half the spinach / broccoli mixture into the base of the greased ovenproof dish and spread it out evenly. Cover the mixture with lasagne pasta (one sheet deep). Spread half the minced beef mixture evenly over the pasta and cover with another layer of pasta.

 
Spread the remaining spinach / broccoli mixture over the pasta and cover with another layer of pasta. Add the remaining minced beef mixture over the pasta, and spread it out evenly.

Lasagne ingredients. Click picture to enlarge. Copyright David Marks

 
Lasagne ingredients. Click picture to enlarge. Finally, add another layer of pasta and cover it with the cheese sauce mixture. Spread it out evenly and then sprinkle the remainder of the grated cheese over the top.

Place it in the middle of the preheated oven and cook for around 30 minutes until the top has turned golden brown as in the picture below.



Lasagne can be eaten on its own because it already has pasta, tomatoes and carrots in the ingredients. But it does go very nicely with a lettuce and tomato salad. Lasagne ingredients. Click picture to enlarge.

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