I can’t believe this is the first lasagne recipe I’ve posted given it’s my favourite meal. I usually swear by Gizzi Erksine’s version, but it does take practically a whole day, so I thought I’d give Tom Kerridge’s a try and it did not disappoint. It’s from his ‘best ever dishes’ book that I got for my birthday and LOVE.
Pre heat the oven to 190 degrees.
To start, rinse 800g of good quality lean beef mince in a colander. This sounds weird but it gets weirder.
Once drained, roast the broken down mince in a large tin. Give it a stir after five mins, and add four star anise’s (plural!?) and four cloves.
Pop the mince back in the oven, and roast for around 40 mins in total. Make sure you give it a stir every so often, to achieve an evenly dark ‘fried’ meat. Tom swears by this method for extra depth and meaty flavour.
Once done, drain the fat out and pick out the spices. Pop this to the side whilst you crack on with the rest.
Next, pop around 1.4 kg of plum tomatoes in the roasting tin. I used a mixture of fresh and tinned, but it’s up to you. Although using all fresh might be more nutritious, I love the sweetness of tinned tomatoes.
Dust the tomatoes with 20g of caster sugar and flaked sea salt. Bake for around 15 mins until lovely and soft. Tom says to blast them with a blow torch to char but I don’t have the pleasure of owning one (hint hint).
Okay so now the flavour comes in. Heat vegetable oil in a large casserole pan over a medium heat. Throw in 200g of pancetta or smoked bacon, and keep stirring until it begins to brown.
Add two finely diced onions, two finely diced celery sticks, two finely diced carrots and four grated garlic cloves to the pan. Cook for five mins until they begin to soften.
Stir in 100g of Demerara sugar, two tablespoons of oregano, four bay leaves, 200ml of red wine and 100ml of red wine vinegar. Don’t be afraid to add the sugar, it’s needed to counteract the sharpness. Bring the whole lot to a boil and simmer until it’s reduced by half.
Now, add the roasted mince and tomatoes mix to the casserole pan along with 300g of halved button mushrooms and 600ml of beef stock. Bring back to the boil before turning down to low. Let this bubble away for an hour and a half, stirring every now and then. The flavours in this are INTENSE. Once it’s nice and thick, season and leave to cool.
To make the white sauce, pour 750ml of milk into a saucepan along with half an onion, half a bunch of fresh thyme, and a couple of bay leaves. Bring to the boil, and then remove from the heat. Pop it aside and cover for 15 mins to infuse.
In a separate pan, melt 60g of butter on a low heat. Add 60g flour and cook for a couple of mins, whilst stirring. People think lasagne is easy, but it’s one of those that does require attention.
Next, slowly pass the infusion though a sieve into the pan with the flour roux. You got it, keep stirring. Once you’ve achieved a thick and glossy sauce, add a teaspoon of ground nutmeg and a load of cheese. I used a mixture of cheddar and parmesan. Season, and leave.
Now the fun begins. Grab a 30x20x10cm ovenproof dish and check the seasoning on all the components.
Start with a layer of mince to cover the bottom. Cover with fresh pasta sheets and follow with a layer of white sauce. Repeat this process:
RAGU – PASTA – SAUCE and finish on a white sauce layer.
Sprinkle on some more grated cheese and voila!
Pop in the oven for around 30-45 mins until it’s lovely and golden on top and hot in the centre.
As tempting as it is to tuck in, let it rest before dishing up. I was clearly so excited for the lasagne that I didn’t even take a pic!
I like to serve with salad and garlic bread. This recipe serves six hungry people.