In spite of it sharing quite a few ingredients with good old spaghetti bolognaise, there’s something about lasagne that makes it a bit more of an occasion and elevates it from the mere humdrum midweek fare of other pasta dishes. But how do you get it just right? Well, here’s an easy recipe that will help you get the perfect pasta treat without forking out a fortune on ingredients…
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What you will need:
1 packet of lasagne sheets
400-500g beef mince
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato puree
200g mushrooms, sliced
1 large carrot, grated
½ teaspoon oregano
For the béchamel sauce…
200g grated cheese
1 tablespoon plain flour
Pinch of grated nutmeg
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Heat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade/gas mark 6. In a large pan, heat some oil and fry the onion, garlic and carrot until soft. Remove from the pan, then on a high heat, cook off the mince until nicely browned. Remove the meat and boil 100ml water in the pan to de-glaze it, making sure you get all of the crispy bits off the bottom. Return the mince and onion mix to the pan along with the mushrooms and cook for a further minute before adding the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, oregano water and seasoning. Bring to the boil and then simmer for approximately 25 minutes. Whilst this is cooking, you can make the béchamel sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan, then stirring in the flour until it makes a thick paste. Pour in the milk bit by bit until it gradually heats and thickens. Add half the grated cheese and the nutmeg along with a bit of salt and pepper.
When both sauces are ready, spread a small amount of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a baking dish then top with a layer of lasagne sheets. Spread another thin layer of the sauce on top, but this time add a small amount of béchamel too. Continue until you reach the top, but save a fair amount of the béchamel for the topping. Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese, then bake in the oven for about 35 minutes, or until the lasagne sheets are cooked all the way through.
To accompany your delicious dish, you could make some homemade garlic ciabatta and a side salad.
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By Anna Scott, 16th May 2013