Lasagne stands for comfort

This was the best one yet. I have reached the heights of lasagne making and my belly has been so grateful. This is a Silver Spoon recipe, gently tweaked to what I had in the fridge and cupboard, it was enough for 2 dinners – happy days. And, dare I say it, it tasted even better the second day. I love it when that happens! Still delicious and less washing up to do.

There’s two parts: The Basic White Sauce and the Tomato Combo with mince. You could easily substitute the mince for Quorn mince, roasted Mediterranean veggies or your choice of bean, all of which would make for a satisfying dinner and tasty leftovers.

Layers. It’s all about the layers. You’ll get about three or four depending on the size of dish you use. Here I used my trusty rectangular Pyrex dish, about 20cm long, and got three.

Top it with some Parmesan-style cheese, and that’s it. There’s no Mozzarella involved here. The original recipe doesn’t call for it, and I didn’t have any and I much preferred it without. I don’t think it adds much to similar baked dishes with lots of sauce or liquid (with the exception of Parmigiana) and I feel it’s better suited to dry dishes, like pizza, where a bit extra moisture can really add another dimension.

Lasagne, Emma style

Serves 4

Basic White Sauce

50g butter

50g flour

250ml milk

250ml water

Salt and pepper to taste

Nutmeg to taste

Gently melt the butter in a small pan. When it’s turned into golden liquid, add the flour and stir to make a roux. Cook this mixture for a minute or two. Have a smidge. You shouldn’t be able to taste the flour. Don’t eat it all, focus, you’re making a lasagne.

Gradually add the liquids, little by little, and keep stirring. It will get lumpy, just use a whisk and watch those lumps disappear while you vigorously work on your biceps.

Watch the science happen as the sauce thickens, add seasonings and taste it again. It might need more pepper or nutmeg.

Leave it to one side. A skin will form on the top and it will get a little thicker. Just gently mix it again.

Tomato Combo with mince

1 onion

1 carrot

1 stick of celery

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Generous squeeze of lemon (or a dash of white wine)

300g lean minced beef

250g passata (maybe a little extra)

Salt and pepper to taste

Finely dice the onion, carrot and celery stick and fry in olive oil over a medium heat until soft. Don’t be tempted to stand over it and stir, stir, stir. Just let it be. (While this is happening, you could make the white sauce, if you’re the super organised type…!)

If your frying pan can take it, add the mince and brown this nicely, it’ll add all lovely kinds of flavour. If it’s not roomy enough, remove the veg and fry the mince separately.

Add the lemon juice at this stage, followed by the passata. Turn down the heat a bit and leave it to bubble away for about 20 minutes. Check the seasoning. Taste it to be sure. G’wan, you know you want to.

Lasagne construction

Dried or fresh lasagne sheets (I used 9 dried)

25g butter

1 quantity Basic White Sauce

1 quantity Tomato Combo

Grease the dish with butter. If you’ve any left over add it to the Tomato Combo. And then proceed to lick it off your fingers, like Nigella would. You are your own Nigella.

Add enough lasagne sheets to one layer on the bottom of the dish, then 2 generous tablespoons of Tomato Combo, followed by 2 of the Basic White Sauce. Keep layering up until you finish with the white sauce. Then top with Parmesan-style cheese and bake in the over at for 30 minutes.

Give it a minute when done or you’ll burn your mouth. Or just go for it. Who am I to judge.

Serve it with a citrus dressed green salad or green veggies.

xo

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