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The Ultimate Lasagne

made with love for those you love

11 Jul 2017 3 hours 6-8

A great lasagne should be an all-day love affair. Taking your time to get the individual stages right and letting the flavours mellow is all part of the joy of making this iconic dish.
My version has a few little tweaks along the way to build layers of flavours that come together to make a true family classic.

Ingredients

Meat Sauce
500 grams pork and fennel sausages, casings removed
500 grams beef mince
¼ cup olive oil
1 carrot, grated
1 onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 x 400 gram tins plum tomatoes
2 cups beef stock
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons cream

 White Sauce
100 grams unsalted butter
1 onion, finely diced
40ml white wine
100 grams plain flour
4 cups whole milk
1 bay leaf
75 grams grated Parmesan
75 grams grated Cheddar

 To Assemble
Lasagne sheets
400 grams grated mozzarella
grated Parmesan
25 x 30cm x 8cm deep baking dish

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours

Recipe

Method

Meat Sauce: Heat a good splash of olive oil in a large casserole or heavy bottom pot on a medium/high heat. Break up the meat and brown it in batches. Place in a bowl and set aside.
Using the same casserole pot, reduce the heat to low/medium and add the ¼ cup olive oil, carrot, onion, celery and garlic and cook until softened.
Add the tomato paste and balsamic vinegar, mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes until reduced slightly.
Add the plum tomatoes and use a fork to mash them up. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the mixture starts to reduce and becomes nice and thick.
Return the meat to the pot and add the beef stock and bay leaf. Reduce the heat to low, stir to combine then cover and simmer gently for 1 hour so all the flavours can get to know each other.
After an hour, stir in the cream, season to taste, discard the bay leaf and set aside to cool slightly before building the lasagne.

Note: the meat sauce can be made a day ahead to speed up the process.

White Sauce: While the meat sauce is simmering, melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat, then add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened.
Add the wine and cook for a further minute.
Stir in the flour to form a paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Whisk in the milk a little at a time, then add the bay leaf and continue to whisk until you have a thick white sauce.
Remove from the heat and add the cheeses, whisking to combine. Season to taste and you’re ready to go.

To Assemble: Cover the base of the baking dish with 1/3 of the meat sauce and add a layer of lasagne sheets. Top with 1/3 of the white sauce, cover with grated mozzarella and repeat twice more: meat, pasta sheets, sauce and cheese, until the dish is full.
Once you’ve added the last layer of white sauce and mozzarella, finish by grating a nice layer of Parmesan over the top then bake in an oven preheated to 180℃ for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden and bubbling.
Allow to rest for 20 minutes before serving.

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