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By January 16, 2016 , , , ,

Lasagne, the favourite dish of Garfield the cat and also one of mine too. It is a true comfort food and a pleasure to eat with all its indulgence. It's something I prefer to eat at home rather than out and love to make all the components and watch them come together into an unctuous dish.

For my lasagne, I do like to make the pasta sheets myself. That way, if I'm using a dish that is either too big or not big enough I can make the sheets the right size to fit. Also, I prefer it to the shop bought stuff. I won't hold it against you if you do use store bought, but try and get fresh pasta sheets rather than the dried ones, it does make a difference.

Without further ado, here's my lasagne recipe.

Ragu base
400g minced beef or 250g beef mince (I like to use brisket) and 150g pork mince
30g pancetta or smoked bacon diced
1 onion finely chopped
1 celery stalk finely chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely chopped
10g finely chopped dried porcini
1 tin of tomatoes
50ml passata
100ml red wine
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon dried herbs
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 bay leaf
Oil for frying
Salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 120c (fan) 130c normal, if cooking on the BBQ set the BBQ up for indirect 130c and ensure that you are using a cast iron pot for the sauce
Start by frying off the onions, carrots and celery until soft. Then add the garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Place the veg to one side on a plate and then fry off the mince and and brown it, add the bacon in last.
Place the rest of the ingredients in the pan and add back the veg, stir to bring together.
Bring the mixture briefly to the boil to take the edge off the alcohol and then place in the oven or BBQ for 3 hours

50g flour
50g butter
Salt and pepper to taste
5g dijon mustard
250ml milk
1g freshly grated nutmeg

Melt the butter, add the flour and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes
Take the pan off the heat and add the milk slowly, whisking all the time to ensure it does not get lumpy
Place back on the heat and continue to stir until it thickens
Add the dijon and nutmeg and stir through
Season to taste
You should have a pretty firm, thick sauce
Allow to cool slightly before adding to the dish

100g pasta flour or '00' flour
1 egg
1 egg yolk

Mix the egg and egg yolk with the flour in a bowl until it comes together into a stiff dough (or whiz it up in your food processor, if you have one) Knead briefly and then place in the fridge to rest for an hour
Once it has rested, roll out the dough either using a rolling pin or a pasta roller until the dough is about 1mm thick
Cut into sheets the right size for your dish and place in the fridge until needed.
Ensure that the sheets are either dusted with flour or use baking parchment to separate the sheets, otherwise they will stick together.

To finish the lasagne

50g parmesan cheese to grate on top
50g mozzarella to garnish

Layer the baking dish with first ragu, then bechamel and then pasta sheet
Ensure you hold back enough sauce to cover the top before you grate the parmesan on top.

Bake for 40 mins at 180c (fan) 190c normal, adding the mozzarella in small chunks over the top about 15 minutes before the end of cooking.
If cooking on the BBQ set the BBQ up for indirect cooking and set to 190c and cook for 40 minutes

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