Sunday, August 20, 2006

Irene's lasagna

J's mum made the most incredible lasagna for us when we returned from our trip to Italy. The fact that we had had pasta for almost 2 weeks non-stop didn't dampen the fact that it was the most delicious lasagna I'd ever tasted.

She was kind enough to give me the recipe a few weeks ago and I've made it twice with terrific results. I usually make it on a Sunday night with a serving of salad, and we have the leftovers midweek, when you're feeling too lazy to cook!

(The metric conversions took some getting used to again!!)

Irene's Lasagna
Serves 4 - 6

1 lb (1/2kg) mince beef
2 onions, diced
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tin tomato puree
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried herbs (like oregano or basil)
1 oz (2 Tbsp) butter
1 oz (2 Tbsp) flour
1/2 pint (1 cup) room temperature milk
Handful grated cheddar or Gruyere cheese
Ready cooked lasagna
1 -2 handfuls grated Parmesan cheese

You'll need a 2 pots, a saucepan and a baking dish.

Meat sauce:
* Heat some olive oil in a pot and saute half of the garlic and half of the onions
* Add mince and cook until brown. Add puree, cover and cook very gently for 10-15 minutes

Tomato sauce:
* Heat some olive oil in a pot and saute the remaining garlic and onions until fragrant
* Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar and dried herbs and cook, uncovered for 20 minutes

White sauce:
* Melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan, add flour and whisk 1 minute
* Add milk (I usually just add it all in one go), and whisk vigourously until thick (about 5 minutes)
* Remove from heat and add grated cheddar/Gruyere. You can add more milk if the sauce is too thick

Preheat oven to 170/180C (350F). Put a layer of lasagna sheets in the baking dish. Add some meat sauce and a layer of tomato sauce. Add another layer of lasagna sheets, the meat sauce (if any left), the tomato sauce and finally the cheese sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan and bake for 30 - 40 minutes until brown and bubbly on top. I usually cover the dish with some foil while baking and remove it about 15 minutes before it's done.


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