Hello and welcome to A Bite Off Each Leg. Today I am making lasagne. I love lasagne because it has a base recipe which can be amended depending on what meat and vegetables you have to hand. My girls love a traditional beef ragu lasagne but we also do other types with chicken, ham, spinach… it is a good meal to use up any vegetables that are hiding at the bottom of your veg draw or as I had one friend do, use up leftover food. One time she make it with four different sections and it turned into a pot luck dish as she has sausage cassarole in one part, meatballs in another, a veggie filling in one quarter and then chicken in the last. It was fun listening to her family fight over the different parts. I also always make a large serving so we have leftovers for lunch the following day.
One piece of advice I will give about making a lasagne is make it early in the day and allow it to sit once constructed for a couple of hours. I normally pop some baking foil over the top and leave it on the stove top or inside the oven. This gives the lasagne sheets time to soften. There is nothing worse than undercooked pasta.
Oven dish dimension: 30cmx23cmx7cm
- 600g Ground beef
- 2 x White Onions
- 1 x Courgette
- 150g Mushrooms
- 1 x Carrot
- 400g Chopped tomatoes
- 500ml Beef stock
- 2 tbsp Tomato puree
- Italian mixed herbs
- Worcester sauce
- 125ml Red wine
- Lasagne sheets
- 1.5l Milk
- 150g butter
- 145g plain flour
- 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 75g Parmesan cheese
- As with all Italian recipes start by putting a good glug of olive oil into a pan and then add the chopped onion, sauté until transparent and then add the chopped garlic.
- My kids like finely chopped vegetables in their lasagne and so I mince up the carrots, courgette and mushrooms and add them to the pan. Do not feel restricted to these vegetables, put in any your family enjoys or you like to hide to sneak in to add extra vitamins. One of my girls swears that she hates mushrooms and courgettes but when I chop them up, she is none the wiser and generally asks for seconds of this every time I put this in front of her. Fry these off together.
- In a separate pan brown off the mince beef before adding to the vegetables and stirring together.
- Next add the beef stock, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, red wine, Worcester sauce and the Italian mixed herbs (fresh or dried). When all mixed together this will look quite wet for a lasagne but bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and leave, stirring occasionally for 1 – 2 hours until you get the right consistency.
- For the bechmael sauce, melt 150g butter in a heavy based saucepan. Mix in the plain flour and the cayenne pepper to make a roux. My family like the little heat you get with the cayenne pepper, it goes really well with the beef ragu but if you prefer you can substitute with mustard powder which adds flavour to the sauce without the warmth. Reduce the heat and gradually add the milk whisking to eliminate any lumps. Turn up to a low-medium heat and stir the sauce until it thickens, then cover while you assemble the lasagne.
- Grease an ovenproof dish. Mine is 7cm deep, 30cm x 23cm. I always start with a bechmael sauce layer followed by lasagne sheets, meat, sauce etc. until the last layer of white sauce and then I top the sauce with grated cheese, either parmesan or cheddar.
- Leave to sit for 2 hours
- To cook put it in a pre-heated oven at 180C. for 40 minutes.