FAVOURITE FAMILY LASAGNE
Everyone loves a home-made lasagne brimming with cheese sauce and packed with home-made flavours. The secret to an excellent mince filling is to ‘layer’ the natural flavours using plenty of aromatic veggies and herbs. This easy version of a classic will soon become a family favourite in your house – and it uses only one 250 g box of lasagne sheets to feed six people.
Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 40 minutes Serves: 6
- 3 Tbsp (45 ml) vegetable oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 sticks celery, finely sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 750 g lean beef mince
- 2 x 400 g tins chopped tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp (30 ml) tomato paste
- 2 tsp (10 ml) dried oreganum, or dried mixed herbs
- ½ cup (125 ml) red wine (or stock)
- 5 tsp (35 ml) Worcestershire sauce
- ¾ cup (180 ml) water
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 x 250 g box Pasta Grandé Lasagne
- 5 Tbsp (75 ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 6 Tbsp (90 g) butter
- 6 Tbsp (90 ml) flour
- 4 cups (1 litre) milk
- 1 tsp (5 ml) nutmeg
- 300 g mozzarella cheese, grated
- Heat the oven to 190 °C.
- Heat the oil in a pan over a medium-low heat and fry the onions, celery, carrot and bay leaf for about 5 minutes, or until just soft. Add the garlic and fry gently for 1 more minute, without letting it brown.
- Turn up the heat and add the mince, using a fork to break up any clumps. Fry the mince for 5 minutes, or until there are no traces of pink meat.
- Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, dried herbs, wine, Worcestershire sauce and water.
- Turn down the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a heavy-based pot. Stir in the flour and cook over a medium heat for 1 minute. Whisk in the cold milk, all in one go, and cook until the sauce thickens, whisking constantly to prevent lumps forming. When the sauce comes to the boil, turn the heat right down and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and add the nutmeg and three-quarters of the mozzarella (reserve the rest for topping). Stir until the cheese has melted, then season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Grease a large ovenproof dish and spread a quarter of the cheese sauce evenly over the bottom. Cover with a single layer of dry lasagne sheets (see Papa Grandé’s tips, below). Spread one third of the mince sauce over the lasagne sheets.
- Repeat these layers two more times, finishing with a final layer of cheese sauce.
- Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and the Parmesan on top and bake on the top shelf of the oven, at 190 °C, for about 25 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbling.
- Serve piping-hot with a crispy green salad.
- If you can’t fit the lasagne sheets neatly into the dish, you can snap them up into pieces to fill in any gaps, but make sure they don’t overlap too much. Pasta Grandé Lasagne does not need to be soaked or rested to cook through, but make sure the mince sauce is not too dry, or the pasta will not absorb enough liquid. If you’re unsure, let your lasagne stand – at room temperature – for 30 minutes before it goes into the oven.
- The alcohol in the wine will completely evaporate as the sauce simmers, but you can use beef stock or water in its place.
- The longer you cook a ragu-style mince sauce like this one, the better it gets, so feel free to simmer it gently for up to a hour.
Favourite Family Lasagne
To add more delicious depth of flavour to your white sauce, first heat the milk with two bay leaves, a slice of onion, two whole cloves and eight peppercorns. Bring the milk to just below the boil, remove the pot from the heat, cover and set aside to infuse for 30 minutes. Then strain the milk and continue with Step 6 of the recipe