Once upon a time when I worked in the world of a la carte, this was one of my signature dishes. A classic meat lasagne. Let’s not talk about nutrition tonight, this is most definitely a treat meal, and as this is a twenty first birthday dinner (happy birthday Jon!), we will just enjoy it for the decadent meal it is.
A good lasagne takes a bit of time and preparation, but it will be so far superior to anything you can buy that anything else doesn’t deserve to share the same name.
To begin with I am going to get you to go into Back to Basics and make up a pot of Bolognese.
And a pot of Cheese sauce, look down the bottom of the White Sauce recipe.
Before it cools I want you to add another 200ml of milk to your pot of cheese sauce and stir it in. We want this a tad thinner for a lasagne as the noodles are going to absorb a bit.
Now, you are going to want a large baking dish, I have a wonderful long rectangular stainless steel jobby that I rescued from a decommissioned Bain Marie, I did have two at one stage but one has gone missing in my travels. I also have a large Pyrex one that is bigger, but shallower, it works fine too.
I always use a fresh noodle, whether I make it myself or I buy them, they are a bit more expensive, but well worth the money, I have used this one tonight -
I never, ever, ever use a dried lasagne sheet, but if you do make sure you add a bit of moisture to the sauces or you are going to be disappointed with the result.
We are also going to need another 200g of cheese. For lasagne, always, I use a combination of a nice tasty for sharpness, a mozzarella for creaminess and an edam for nuttiness.
Got everything together? Righto, turn oven on to 170 degrees C and we shall begin our assembly.
Start with a thin layer of cheese sauce on the bottom of your baking dish -
Top with a layer of lasagne sheets -
Put on half of your bolognese and smooth it out -
Now another layer of lasagne sheets. Now cheese sauce, don’t be stingy, use almost half of what you have left.
Now lasagne sheets, now bolognese, now lasagne sheets, now cheese sauce, now lasagne sheets, and now the last thin layer of cheese sauce, and now top with your grated mixed cheeses.
Now, into your hot oven for about forty minutes until golden and bubbling.
Gorgeous! Let it cool for about five minutes so it sets a little bit, then cut portions and serve with a leafy salad.
This is a beautiful, beautiful thing. I hope you enjoy it.
One word of warning, if you are going to fill your baking dish as full as I do, slide a big tray in underneath as it loves to drip as it cooks.
While I was at it I made a single serve one for Emma, who quite often does not have time to cook with full time uni plus a part time job, you can do them this way too, build them into little baking dishes or ramekins, wrap them in a bit of cling film and pop them in the freezer, when you want to cook them just pop them into a slow oven, about 120 degrees C for about 15 minutes so you don’t shatter the dish, then turn up the heat to 170 degrees C until golden and bubbling. Sure beats take away!