Lasagne

Lasagne

Lasagne (not yet cooked!)
There are probably as many different recipes for Lasagne out there as there are different ways to make a chicken breast interesting. Some are wetter, some are so firm that you can slice them like a cake. Mine edges more towards the "firmer" style. I assemble the Lasagne into a 17cm x 23cm x 5cm dish so the recipe quantity is geared up to this.
Yes, the picture is of the Lasagne before I cooked it, the hunger was simply too much and it got served up and eaten (along with charlotte and anya potatoes roasted in Rapeseed Oil and a green salad) before I could even think about taking a picture.
I've stuck quotes round the world bolognese below because it's very clearly not a true Italian Bolognese sauce, but it is the name that a lot of people (outside of Italy) give to it, Wikipedia says:
Outside Italy, the phrase "Bolognese sauce" often refers to a tomato-based sauce to which minced beef (or pork) has been added; such sauces typically bear less resemblance to ragù alla bolognese being more similar in fact to the ragù alla napoletana from the tomato-rich south of the country. Whereas in Italy ragù is not used with spaghetti, so-called "spaghetti bolognese" has become a popular dish in many other parts of the world in spite of Italian complaints against it being one of the "crimes against ragù.

Stats

Serves: 4, generously
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • For the meat "bolognese"

    • 500g beef mine
    • 1 large white onion
    • 1.5tbsp olive oil
    • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
    • 300ml red wine
    • 2 beef OXO cubes, crushed up
    • 1/2tbsp tomato puree
    • 390g chopped tomatoes (1 tin / carton)
    • A handful of basil, shredded
    • Salt and pepper to season
  • For the white sauce

    • 1 pint of milk
    • 50g butter
    • 35g plain flour
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 8 black peppercorns
    • 1/2 white onion
    • A small piece of blade mace (about a square centimetre)
    • Salt to season
  • To assemble

    • 130g grated mozarella
    • 30g grated fresh parmesan
    • 40g grated shropshire red
    • 9 dried lasagne sheets

Method

  1. Put the milk into a small saucepan, along with the bay leaf (crush it gently to encourage it to release its flavour), peppercorns, white onion and blade mace. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat off and leave to infuse
  2. Chop the onion and soften in a pan with one tablespoon of the olive oil for 10 minutes or so, then set aside
  3. Add the remaining half tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan and brown the mince in batches, making sure to get colour onto the mince. Do this in batches if necessary to ensure that the meat does get colour and doesn't end up steaming in the pan
  4. Add the tomato puree to the pan and stir round with the last batch of beef mince, the objective is to "cook it off" a little to make the flavour richer. This only really needs 30 seconds or so
  5. Add the oxo cubes and garlic to the pan, along with the onions and mince and mix well
  6. Add the wine to the plan and allow to simmer for a minute or two to cook off some of the alcohol
  7. Add the chopped tomatoes, stir to mix it all together then cover with a lid and cook gently until thickened - for me 45 minutes is usually enough. Do check from time to time and stir if necessary
  8. Turn the heat off, add the chopped basil and stir in before checking and seasoning to taste
  9. Whilst the bolognese sauce is cooling a little, start making the white sauce by straining the milk to remove the peppercorns, onion, bay leaf and blade mace
  10. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then add the flour and stir together over a low heat and let it sit for a minut (this is only a light roux)
  11. Add the milk - I usually pour it all in and whisk vigorously until the roux and the milk are combined. This always works with warm/hot milk, but you could be cautious and add the milk incrementally and mix after each addition
  12. Let the sauce simmer and thicken, then let it bubble away for a minute or two before seasoning and turning the heat off
  13. Using half the bolognese mix, put a layer into the bottom of the dish and then use three sheets of Lasagne to cover it
  14. Pour over half the white sauce, using a spoon to make sure its distributed evenly over the pasta sheets
  15. Sprinkle over 50g of the grated mozarella
  16. Make another layer using the remaining bolognese and then cover this with two layers of lasagne sheets
  17. Pour over the remaining white sauce, again making sure that it's covered evently
  18. Use the remaining mozarella, the parmesan and the shropshire red to cover the top of the white sauce
  19. Cook the Lasagne in the oven (170 degrees Fan assisted) for 30 to 45 minutes, or until a knife goes through easily so you know the pasta sheets are cooked through

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