Classics with a Twist: Lasagne, Lay The Table
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Classics with a Twist: Lasagne

Classics with a Twist: Lasagne, Lay The Table

The secret to a great lasagne, according to the Italian owner of my local deli, is layers. Lots and lots of layers. Keep stacking it high, keep spreading on the meat sauce, the cheese, the bechamel. Layer, layer, layer. But thats not the only twist on this classic teatime favourite. Ive given the bechamel a smoky kick with the addition of a teaspoon of paprika. This recipe fed me, my wife and three kids , with enough leftover over for my wifes and a workmates lunch the next day. 

Classics with a Twist: Lasagne, Lay The Table

Serves 4-6

2 tbsp olive oil
1 celery stick, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1-2 tsp dried oregano
500g steak mince
1 glass red wine
1 x 400g can tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
100ml  beef stock
1 tsp grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the bechamel sauce

Knob of butter
3 shallots, finely chopped
500ml milk
25g butter
25g plain flour
1 tsp smoked paprika powder

For the lasagne

6-8 sheets fresh lasagne pasta (homemade or shop-bought I made my own because my wife bought me a pasta machine for Christmas)
100g ricotta cheese
1 large ball mozzarella, sliced
Small handful grated parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp butter

1. To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a low heat and fry the celery, carrots and onion for approximately 15 mins, until softened. Add the garlic and fry for two more minutes. Add the mince and cook until the liquid from the meat has evaporated. Add the tomatoes, oregano, nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir through. Pour in the red wine and stock stock, stir well and transfer to a slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 3-4 hours, until the meat is very tender. Once cooked, if necessary, transfer to a saucepan on the hob to thicken the sauce. You dont want it too sloppy.

Classics with a Twist: Lasagne, Lay The Table

2. To make the bechamel sauce, add the butter to a large non-stick saucepan and gently cook the shallots until softened, approx. 5 mins. Add the flour and stir in until you have a thick paste. Gradually add a little milk to the flour mixture. Combine well, and when all the milk has been absorbed, add a little more. Continue to do this until all the milk has been added, whisking continually. When all the milk has been absorbed, stir in the paprika and season with salt and pepper.

Classics with a Twist: Lasagne, Lay The Table

3. For the lasagne, blanch the pasta in salted boiling water for three minutes. Butter a deep baking dish and place a sheet of pasta on top. Add a layer of mince, then another sheet of pasta, then a layer of bechamel, then pasta, then mince, then pasta, then ricotta, then pasta, then mince, and keep going until youve run out of pasta sheets and mince filling. When youve added the final sheet of pasta, top it with slices of mozzarella and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

Classics with a Twist: Lasagne, Lay The Table

Classics with a Twist: Lasagne, Lay The Table

4. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4 and cook the lasagne on the middle shelf for 40-45 mins, until piping hot and the cheese is bubbling and golden brown. Serve with green leaves, such as baby spinach.

Classics with a Twist: Lasagne, Lay The Table

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About

Hi, I am Norbert Lacle former internacional chef and vice president of AB Universal LLC. I have found that cooking calms me down and relaxes me (at least mostly, sometimes it drives me crazy!) And that it even makes me happy and satisfied from time to time.

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