Beef lasagne is a favourite of mine for a few reasons, it hides heaps of vegetables, if you’re making one you may as well make a big one, it freezes well and it’s great for guests. I make extra bolognaise sauce and freeze that too for an easy mid week meal.
The trouble with my lasagne though is I cook by feel now, never by a recipe so every one I make is different (and some turn out better than others!) The tricky bit is getting the liquid ratio of the mince and white sauce “just right” and not too wet or too dry when you serve it.
Sometimes I am a bit heavy handed with the white sauce layer and run out of white sauce for the top. If this happens, I mix an egg with about 250g sour cream and some cheese and top my lasagne with that instead. It works just as well!
I like to serve this with garlic bread and my favourite bean and zucchini salad. Simply mix about 4 tbs of olive oil with 2 tbs lemon juice, add a bit of lemon zest, a crushed clove of garlic or two and a handful of mint leaves. Pour this over freshly steamed beans and zucchini and toss together. Leave to sit for a little bit before serving at room temperature.
This is the first time I have written the recipe down, here we go.
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 2 sticks of celery, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 500g beef mince
- 500g pork and veal mince
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 4 cloves
- 1 tbs tomato paste
- 1 jar passata
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 100g butter
- 4 tbs flour
- pinch nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups milk
- 250g frozen spinach, defrosted
- 1 packet fresh lasagne sheets
- Mozzarella cheese
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until tender.
- Add the garlic and mince and break the beef up with a wooden spoon until browned.
- Add the spices and tomato paste and cook for a minute or so before adding the red wine and bring to the boil.
- Add the tomatoes and bay leave and simmer until thick, at least an hour. When cooked, turn the heat off and set aside.
- For the white sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and add the flour. Stir the butter and flour with a flat wooden spoon until the raw smell disappears, making sure you get all the roux from the edges of the saucepan. Add the nutmeg and whisk in the milk.
- Turn the heat to medium low and keep stirring until the white sauce is as thick as runny yoghurt. Add more milk if you need to.
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Starting with the mince in the bottom of your dish, layer lasagne sheets, white sauce and spinach, finishing with a layer of white sauce. Sprinkle the top with mozzarella and bake for about an hour until hot, bubbling and brown on top.