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Beef Lasagne

Layers of meaty sauce with cheese and béchamel sauce, topped with more glorious cheese – it is little wonder that lasagne is a real family favourite. The lasagne sheets do not need precooking.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 6 sheets of lasagne
  • 500ml Béchamel Sauce
  • 300g Cheddar cheese, Grated
  • For the beef sauce
    • Olive oil
    • 1 carrot, finely chopped
    • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 750g minced beef
    • 20g (1 rounded tbsp) tomato puree (paste)
    • 150ml red wine
    • 200ml beef stock
    • 400g Tomato Sauce
    • 1 tsp mixed fresh herbs
    • Salt and black pepper
  • BECHAMEL SAUCE
    • 25g (2 tbsp) butter
    • 25g (3 tbsp) plain  flour
    • 500ml  milk
    • Salt and white pepper

Method

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the carrot, celery, onion and garlic for 3–5 minutes, until cooked but not completely soft.
  2. Add the minced beef, mix thoroughly and cook until it is browned.
  3. Stir in the tomato puree, red wine and stock and cook gently, uncovered, for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato sauce and herbs and cook for 10–15 minutes, until most of the liquid has reduced.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  7. Place a layer of the meat sauce in the bottom of a 25 x 18cm (10 x 8 inch) baking dish. Add a layer of the pasta, a layer of béchamel and sprinkle with some of the grated cheese.  Repeat these layers, finishing with béchamel and grated cheese. Bake for 35–40 minutes, until bubbling hot.
  8. FOR THE BECHAMEL SAUCE
    1. Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat.  Sprinkle in the flour and stir with a balloon whisk. Cook gently for 2–3 minutes, until the roux is off-white in colour. Take care not to overcook it as this will make the sauce discoloured.
    2. Slowly pour the milk on to the roux and increase the heat to medium, whisking constantly until it comes to the boil. Season with salt and white pepper and cook for a further 6–8 minutes to ensure the flour is cooked through.
  9. Serve with a crisp green salad and garlic bread.

Tips and ideas

  • Try adding 100g ricotta cheese to the basic béchamel for a richer flavour.
  • The sautéed mixture of chopped carrots, celery and onions is known as mirepoix, and is used to add flavour to stocks, sauces and other dishes.