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Lasagne


My first lasagne tasting was around the age of 21. Stupidly old. It was superb though. I then tasted it everywhere I could but the original was still the best. Many thanks to the Westmuckett household. I got a pretty vague description of it and with a decent italian cookery book i've made my own version. It's not covered in sauce, it will stand up on a plate and doesn't require a bowl etc. You can even cut it into portions, wrap it and freeze it.

To serve 6 you require:
1 lot of red pasta sauce
1 lot of bechamel sauce
A couple of boxes of lasagne sheets. (around 12-16 sheets)
Parmesan cheese

For the pasta sauce:
500g lean beef mince
2 onions (chopped)
3 mixed peppers (chopped)
1-2 cans of chopped italian tomatoes
100ml red wine (optional)
1 can of chickpeas
Tomato puree
3 cloves of fresh garlic (finely chopped)
Basil, Oregano, Cayenne Pepper, Ground Nutmeg, Black Pepper, Salt

For the bechamel sauce:
120g butter
7 tbsp flour
1200ml milk
Salt, Black Pepper, Ground Nutmeg

Red Pasta Sauce:
Heat about 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan or saute pan (medium heat). Add the onions and garlic and allow them to cook for a while until the onions are translucent. Add the peppers, 2tsp basil, 1tsp oregano and 1/4tsp cayenne pepper and then cover and turn down the heat to low-medium and allow them to cook for around 15 minutes or until they look pretty done. Throw on the beef having turned the heat back up and uncovered the pan. Stir this occasionally until the beef has cooked thorougly. Add the chickpeas and allow them 2 minutes or so. Add the tomatoes, any wine and a little tomato puree (more puree if less tomatoes). Mix it all up and then leave it to simmer for around an hour to an hour and a half, adding some salt. You want to cook off most but not all of the sauce. When it's finished add a pinch of black pepper and around 1/4tsp of nutmeg then stir them in.

Bechamel Sauce:
Melt the butter over a medium heat in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook this until it begins to foam. Remove from the heat and then gradually add the milk whilst constantly whisking. Return it to the heat and constantly whisk it until the mixture thickens. You want it pretty thick, soft peaks ish. Then bring to the boil and remove from the heat. Mix in the salt, black pepper and nutmeg.

Putting the Lasagne together and cooking it:
Start by greasing a big rectangular oven dish. 12x8 inches I guess. Add a thin layer of bechamel to the bottom of it then cover with lasagne. Layer 1/3 of the red sauce then cover with 1/3 of the bechamel then a fair amount of grated parmesan. Then cover with lasagne. Do this twice more but avoid covering with lasagne the final time. The top layer needs to cover the lasagne sheets entirely to avoid burning them. If desired, press some tomato slices into the top layer and sprinkle with a little basil and oregano. Cook this in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C (Gas mark 6) for 30 minutes. Allow it to stand for a couple of minutes or so once it's cooked then cut it into slices and serve, possibly with a little fresh basil on top.

This page was created by Phil Waring, Copyright 2003-2009

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