Recipe: Lasagne Al Forno

17 Jan

..nom nom nom.

This is a perfect Sunday afternoon dinner. It makes enough for 4 mighty portions and if there’s only 2 people scoffing then you can save half and have enough for an easy school-night dinner another time. It is rich, old-school and only a little bit naughty. If it’s good enough for Garfield…
To buy –
*  2tbsp olive oil   *100g chopped pancetta   *1 red onion   *2 garlic clove   *250g fresh beef mince   *2 celery sticks   *2 carrots   *pinch of sugar   *1/2tsp dried oregano   *400g tin of chopped tomatoes   *squirt of sundried tomato paste   *2 tsp Dijon mustard   *140g cheddar cheese  *225g lasagne sheets   *115g parmesan cheese (and extra to serve)   *salt and pepper   *300ml Bechamel Sauce: *300ml fresh milk   *1 bay leaf   *slice of onion   *sprinkle of mace and sprinkle of nutmeg   *25g butter   *25g plain flour
To make –
1. Finely chop the carrots and celery and onion and garlic. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan and add the pancetta, cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes.
2. Chop the onion and garlic and add to the pan, stir now and again and after about five minutes or so it will be nice and soft.
3. Add the beef and break up gentle. Brown the beef and then add the celery and carrots.  Cook for about five minutes.
4. Season to taste and then add the sugar, oregano, tomatoes and tomato purée. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 190oC and get to work on the béchamel sauce.
6. Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the bay leave, pepper, slice of onion, nutmeg and mace. Bring to just below boiling point and then remove the pan from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for out 10 minutes. Strain the milk into a jug and then discard the flavourings.
7. Melt the butter in another saucepan and sprinkle in the flour and cook over a low heat, stirring all the time, for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually stir in the milk.
8. Return the pan to a low heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring all the time until it’s thick and smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
9. Now add the mustard and Cheddar cheese into the Bechamel sauce, it will look silky and smell great.
10. In a large rectangular ovenproof dish make alternate layers of meat, lasagne sheets and parmesan cheese. Pour the cheese-y béchamel sauce over the layers covering them completely and then cover the lasagne with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
11. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes. Like the stranglers song it’ll be golden brown and bubbling away.
12. Serve immediately with a fresh salad – I like rocket, little tomatoes and pine nuts.
Yummmmm. Eat. Smile and then time for a little lie-down…


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