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Monday, 28 July 2014

Classic Lasagne

I think that this is possibly my family’s favourite recipe.  I have lost count how many times I make it, in the summer I just serve it with a Greek salad and in the winter I tend to use greens or cabbage.  Although it is a little time consuming to make, it can be done in stages and once completed can be chilled for a few days or frozen until needed.

Classic Lasagne

Serves 4-6
Olive oil for frying
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
100g / 3 ½ oz unsmoked streaky bacon, chopped or pancetta lardons
500g / 1lb 2oz minced beef
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt & pepper
Fresh lasagne sheets
Parmesan cheese to grate

For the sauce
25g / 1oz butter
50g / 2oz flour
600ml / 1 pint milk
Pinch nutmeg
225g carton of cottage cheese

Heat a spoonful of oil in a large pan.  Add the onions, garlic and celery and fry until golden.  Add the chopped bacon and continue to fry until crisp.  Add the minced beef to the pan and fry until browned, stirring from time to time.  Stir in the tomatoes and ½ a can of water, tomato puree, sugar, oregano, salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer, half cover and continue to cook gently for 30 minutes.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Gradually add the milk, each time you add bring the sauce to the boil and then add some more until all the milk has been used and the sauce is thickened.  Remove from the heat and add nutmeg, seasoning and the cottage cheese. Use a stick blender to blend the cottage cheese into the sauce.

To make up the dish arrange the meat, pasta and sauce in 3 layers in a shallow ovenproof dish.  Finish with sauce then sprinkle the top with grated Parmesan.  Bake at 190C / Fan 170C / Gas 5 for 30 minutes or until browned and bubbling.

To get ahead: The dish can be made several days ahead and stored in the fridge.

To freeze: The dish can be frozen up to 1 month ahead.  Defrost before cooking as above. 

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