Nothing fills that lasagna-shaped hole in one’s tummy quite like lasagna… What better way is there to beat a cold winter’s day full of unforeseen stresses, trials and tests that with meaty layer upon meaty layer of cheesy, pasta-y goodness? I have actually never made lasagna before, but it should be easy enough. I’m bold and am always happy to put my money where my mouth is, and then put the lasagna where my mouth is, and smile.
The recipe I used is based on Gordon Ramsay’s but quite frankly, I supercharged it. Two cloves of garlic? Try five!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ large onion, peeled
- 1 large carrot, peeled
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 pinches dried oregano
- 300g minced beef
- 1 tablespoon tomato pureé
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- splash Tabasco
- 30ml red wine
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 50ml milk
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the Bechamel – 25g butter
- 25g flour
- 300ml milk
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- 60g cheddar cheese, grated
- 30g parmesan cheese, grated
- 6 sheets of ‘non-cook’ lasagna sheets
- Preheat the oven to 220°C. Heat the olive oil in a hot pan. Grate the onion and carrot and crush the garlic before frying together. Season with the bay leaf, a pinch of oregano, Worcestershire sauce and a little salt and pepper. Allow the onion to soften before making a well in the centre of the pan. Place the mince in the middle of the pan and stir to break it up. Add the tomato puree and allow to cook out for 30 seconds. Splash in the Tabasco. Continue until all the meat has browned nicely. Add the wine and cook off the alcohol before adding the tomatoes. Leave to simmer for a further 2-3 minutes. Finally add the milk, turn off the heat and set aside.
- To make the cheese sauce, first melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and using a wooden spoon, stir to form a paste. Over a gentle heat add a third of the milk, whisking to prevent any lumps forming. Add the rest of the milk a third at a time, whisking as you go. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of ground nutmeg. Allow the sauce to cook out for another minute before adding the Cheddar cheese. Stir and remove from the heat.
- Spoon a third of the meat sauce into the bottom of the baking dish and place pasta sheets on top (break the sheets if necessary to avoid any overlapping). Next, pour in a third of the cheese sauce, and spread evenly using a spatula before spooning another layer of meat on top. Add another layer of pasta, meat and sauce then another layer of pasta then pour the remaining sauce on top.
- Finish with the grated Parmesan and sprinkle with another pinch of oregano. Add a light seasoning of salt and pepper before cleaning the edges of the dish and placing in the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.