Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Homemade lasagne

I'm sure most folk make their own Lasagne, as they do Spag Bol !  I must say though, I prefer Lasagne to Spag Bol, the flavour and texture have a greater depth, and it feels more substantial in a special way, than a bowl of Spaghetti Bolognese! As with most cooking and baking, though, I am sure this a highly subjective area to debate :)  If you want to recreate my version of Lasagne you will need:

  • 500 g of minced beef (the better the quality, the better the results will be) 
  • 1 medium onion - chopped into small pieces
  • 10 (approx) medium mushrooms - halved and sliced 
  • 2 garlic cloves - crushed
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
  • 2 cans of plum tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons of red wine
  • a good turn of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of dried basil
  • 1 jar of white Lasagne sauce, or same quantity of home made bechamel sauce
  • 9 Lasagne sheets (your Lasagne dish should be roughly the same size as 3 Lasagne sheets laid side by side)
  • 150 g  mozzarella (grated)
  • Parmesan cheese (a few teaspoons sprinkled over the top)

1.  Brown minced beef in a large frying pan, no need to add any oil, but do keep stir the minced beef to break it up
2.  Add chopped onion to minced beef, and stir this in, put lid on pan, and cook on medium heat until onion is soft
3. Add mushrooms, stir well to combine, and add garlic, tomato puree, 2 cans of tomatoes (stir tomatoes in well and try to break them up into the minced beef etc), and wine
4.  Bring to the boil, then add black pepper, basil, sugar.  At this point if it's looking like it needs more liquid, add some boiled water from kettle (or pour some into one of the tomato cans and swish around to gather up remnants of tomato, and add this to pan)
5.  Turn off heat, and begin to assemble the lasagne by  first spooning in a sufficient quantity of the meat sauce to cover (but not to deeply) the bottom of your lasagne dish
6.  Put a layer of lasagne sheets on top of the meat sauce (3 sheets side by side)
7.  Spoon a layer of white sauce over the lasagne sheets (not too deeply just enough to cover them and spread over them)
8.  Repeat steps 5, 6, & 7 twice more, resulting in 3 layers of each of the meat sauce, lasagne sheets, and white sauce
9.  Sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper over the white sauce topping
10.  Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top to ensure a good coverage
11.  Sprinkle a small quantity of dried basil over the top, and finally some Parmesan cheese grated finely over the top
12.  Stand lasagne dish onto a baking tray (in case it bubbles over) and place on top shelf of oven on 180 C (fan) for 40 minutes.  It should be a deep golden brown and beginning to form a crust on top (see photo).
13.  This should give you 6 decent sized portions; eat immediately or leave to cool, and slice into 6 portions, and when ready to eat, you can microwave each portion (in a dish covered in cling film) for approx 3 minutes.  Store any remaining portions in fridge, covered, but eat within 2 days.

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