Why hasn’t lasagne made it onto my blog before , I think because it is often not very photogenic, and thats a terrible reason not to put something on , because I love lasagne.
Lasagne is a dish of my childhood , my mum reckons there is not a child alive who doesn’t eat it so when school freinds came for dinner we always had a massive dish of lasagne . Still whenever someone goes into hospital the first thing my mum does it make and deliver a lasagne to the abandoned family.
I can also chart my childhood cookery progress through lasagne. First I was allowed to grate the cheese , later make the whole bechamel sauce , later the meat sauce and during my time as a vegetarian I learnt to make a tasty lentil filling .
For me making a lasagne is a joyously times consuming activity which shouldn’t be rushed .
The beschamel sauce is satisfying to make from scratch, to make
its extra luxurious , stirring it with a rosemary stalk imparts a
herby taste and I have also added white wine but the real secret has to
be to use a strong cheese , very mature cheddar or even stilton
Meat sauce these days has expanded to include lentils and olives to give texture. It also contains both beer and wine . I find the beer acts as a good replacement for beef stock which I don’t really have since we don’t often have beef on the bone
I like the pasta to be cooked but still a little chewy crispy chewy edges . I have to stop myself eating it cold from the pan.
10 sheets of dried lasagne
My lasagne dish which is 50cm long X30cm wide and 20cm tall
- Layer of bolagnese sauce (recipe below ), followed by a layer of pasta followed by
- sauce to 3/4 of the way up the dish finally pour over the beschamel sauce ( recipe below) . I have tried laying the beschamel sauce alongside with the meat sauce but its seems to just vanish into the pasta and I love a cheesy layer
- Scatter grated cheese over the top and a few sprinkles of fresh rosemary and black pepper
- Bake at 150degC for 40 minutes
400g of minced beef
200g of red lentils
600g of chopped tinned plum tomatoes
1 large onion finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic minued
1litre of water
200ml of red wine
200ml of dark ale
3 tbsp of roughly chopped stoned olives ( black and green)
3 tbsp of olive oil
3 tbsp of mixed herbs ( Dried Oregano , parsley and rosemary)
Salt and Pepper
- Heat the olive oil in the pan.
- Fry the onion and garlic til soft, then add the meat in batchs to brown
- If you want to make this vegetarian replace the meat with 300g of green/continental lentils
- Once browned add the tomatoes , lentils , wine , ale and half the water
- Simmer for at least an hour on a low heat with the lid off , add more water if it begins to look too dry
- Add the olives and mixed herbs
- Add the other half of the water simmer for a further hour.
Beschamel (White) Sauce
Makes 1.5 pints of sauce
1.5 pints milk
2 heaped tbsps butter
2 heaped tbsp of plain flour
200g of cheddar cheese (- half stilton if available)
- Melt the butter in a pan add the plain flour and cook for a few minutes on a low heat
- Begin to add the milk a little at a time , stirring continuously until it has all been incorporated
- The milk should thicken to form a glossy sauce.
- Finally add the cheese saving a little for the top of the lasagne , stir well taste and if required season with a little salt and pepper