Monday, 1 October 2012

Beef and Lamb Lasagne

Lasagne is one of my favourite comfort food dishes, and always has been. I remember a little café near my old workplace in Grantham in Lincolnshire, which served up big wodges of lasagne with a side salad. It was the best lasagne I'd eaten. That was quite a few years ago now and so I've been testing and tweaking each lasagne I've made until it reminds me of my lunchtimes in Grantham. And this one did.

I used the Jamie Oliver technique of mixing creme fraiche with Parmesan cheese and spooning it over rather than making a bechamel sauce because it's quicker. I've heard some people spoon over double cream on theirs, though.

I've also used a combination of beef and lamb mince too, to make the meat sauce extra rich and tasty. For years I made it with just beef - but this really does make a difference. I hope you like it.



Lasagne
Feeds 6 hungry adults
Ingredients

  • 400g lamb mince
  • 500g beef mince
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 200ml full-bodied red wine
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes + the water of 1/3 of the can
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • salt and pepper
  • handful basil, chopped
  • 1 x pack of 5 fresh egg lasagne sheets, soaked for 5 minutes in boiling water from the kettle

for the cheese sauce:
  • 300g creme fraiche
  • 25g Parmesan cheese
  • Small pinch of salt
  • Grinding of black pepper
Method:
  1. In a large, dry frying pan, brown the lamb and beef mince until just browned. If you find it's sitting in a pool of liquid, drain this off.
  2. Return to the heat and throw in the garlic and onion and cook for 2-3 more minutes, until it begins to soften.
  3. Pour in the wine, let it evaporate and then stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée and a good pinch of salt and a grinding of black pepper. Cover, and leave to simmer away gently for a good 30 minutes if you're pushed for time, or 45 if you're more laid back.
  4. Turn off the heat, sprinkle in the chopped basil and preheat your oven to 200­°C.
  5. In a bowl, stir together the creme fraiche, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Take out a large roasting dish and rub with a little olive oil. 
  6. Tip about one third of the meat mixture into the bottom of the dish and spread it around so it covers the base of the dish. Top with your lasagne sheet (trim them to fit if you need to and use up the pieces in the rest of the layers), and then spread about another third of the creme fraiche mixture over the top. Spoon over another layer of meat sauce, then lasagne and then creme fraiche twice more.
  7. On the final creme fraiche layer, grate over some of the extra Parmesan cheese and bake for 35-40 minutes (cover the top with foil if you think it's browning too quickly).
Do you have any lasagne-making tips? What's your favourite version of lasagne?