I have spent some time improving this recipe, and now it is so scrumptious that I cook it every few weeks to have at lunchtime during work, which looks pretty majestic alongside those crusty ham sandwiches in scrunched up foil.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 500g beef mince
- 1 large onion
- 3 celery sticks
- 2 garlic cloves
- 100g mushrooms
- 1 medium-sized carrot
- 100g courgette
- 2 level tablespoons of cornflour (or plain flour)
- 150ml of beef stock
- 1 tablespoon of redcurrant jelly (or 1 and a half teaspoons of sugar)
- 2 heaped tablespoons of tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil
- 2 x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
- 100g/half ring of chorizo
- 50g butter
- 50g corn flour (or plain flour)
- 500ml milk
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 30g parmesan cheese, grated
- 4 black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon chopped parley
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 6-9 sheets of egg pasta lasagne, depending on how many layers you want
- 50g mature cheddar cheese, grated
1) Decide if you want to blanch your pasta in boiling water or leave to soak. I tend to leave to soak in water my lasagne dish for the duration of my preparation, and by the time I am ready to construct the lasagne the sheets have a lovely texture. Otherwise, blanch your pasta later on when your sauce is simmering.
2) Brown the mince in a large pan with a swig of oil on a medium heat. Add a little at a time and try not to stir too much. When all of the meat is brown, set aside in a bowl.
3) Chop and grate the onion and finely chop the garlic and add to a pan (which I usually clean after browning the mince). After, grate the carrot and the celery (especially do this if you usually hate celery, as I do!), and roughly chop the pepper, courgette and mushrooms, before adding these to the pan. Heat the kettle to prepare the beef stock.
4) Return the mince to the pan along with the 2 tablespoons of cornflour. Stir, and mix the beef stock, before adding to the pan. Once boiling, add the add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, redcurrant jelly, a dash of salt and pepper, and the thyme. Keep on a medium heat and preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
5) The chorizo! You can grate it or chop it, or do both. I like grating the chorizo so the flavour is spread across the lasagne slices, but I do like having the chunks of chorizo too for a different texture. Add to the pan and leave to simmer for approximately 30 minutes.
6) To make the bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium-low heat and then mix in the flour. Once it creates a paste, begin to add the milk a little at a time, whisking thoroughly to keep it smooth. This should not be rushed – lumpy sauce is not good! When you are halfway through the milk, add the parsley, nutmeg and peppercorns and continue to whisk in the rest of the milk until slightly thickened but still smooth. Take off the heat and stir through the cheese and the Dijon mustard and season well with salt and pepper.
7) Assembling the lasagne always gets me excited because it is the final step before the oven does all the remaining work and I can concentrate on getting ready to eat it! Use however many layers you like, and start by spooning the sauce into your dish, before taking your lasagne sheets and placing neatly next to each other, taking care not to overlap. Then pour over your bechamel sauce, and repeat, depending how many layers you want.
8) When you have layered your lasagne, sprinkle nutmeg and cheddar cheese over the top and place into the oven for around 45 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Enjoy!