Tuesday 12 May 2009

Lasagne from Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food

(Serves 4-6)


For the Bolognese Sauce

2 rashers of streaky bacon
2 medium onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 carrots
2 sticks of celery
olive oil
2 heaped teaspoons dried oregano
500g good quality minced beef, pork, or (even better!) a mixture of the two [I used beef]
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
a small bunch of fresh basil
50g Parmesan cheese [I don't like Parmesan, so I replaced this with Cheddar]

For the lasagne

250g dried egg lasagne sheets
1 x 500ml tub of creme fraiche
100g Parmesan cheese [again, I subbed this for Cheddar]
1 large ripe tomato

To make your Bolognese sauce

Finely slice your bacon [I find scissors good for this].
Peel & finely chop the onions, garlic, carrots and celery - don't worry about technique; just chop away.
Place a large casserole-type pan on a medium to high heat, add 2 lugs of olive oil, your sliced bacon and the oregano and cook and stir until the bacon is lightly golden.
Add the veg to the pan and stir every 30 seconds for around 7 minutes or until softened and lightly coloured.

Stir in the minced meat and the tinned tomatoes. Fill one of the empty tins with water and add to the pan [I only used half a tin of water, as I've made Jamie's Bolognese before and found it a little wet for my liking]. Stir in a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Pick the basil leaves and place in the fridge for later. Finely chop the basil stalks and stir into the pan [again, scissors are good for this].
Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer with a lid on for 45 minutes, stirring every now and again to stop it catching.

To finish the sauce

Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F / GM5. Remove the Bolognese sauce from the heat. Finely grate the Parmesan and stir a quarter of this into the sauce [I wasn't sure if he meant 1/4 of the 50g allocated for the sauce, or 1/4 of the whole amount of cheese - I went with the whole amount].
Tear and stir in any larger basil leaves, keeping the smaller ones aside for later. Have a taste of the sauce, and season with a little more salt and pepper if you think it needs it.
Boil some water in a kettle and pour it into a pan, then add all your lasagne sheets with a drizzle of olive oil and blanch (slightly soften) for 3 to 4 minutes.

Drain the sheets in a colander and carefully pat them dry with some kitchen paper to absorn any excess water.

To make your lasagne

Spoon a third of your Bolognese sauce into the bottom of an earthenware ovenproof dish. Follow with a layer of lasagne sheets. [Here, I encountered a problem. My sheets were stuck together! I don't know what I could have done to prevent this - rinse in cold water afterwards? Anyway, I managed to get round this by using a knife, very carefully, and splitting them apart. By the end it was too tricky. Luckily I had another packet of lasagne sheets so I used them for my last layer as there was no way this was working for me - see below!]

Dollop over a third of your creme fraiche and smooth it out to cover the lasagne sheets. Sprinkle with a good pinch of salt and pepper and another quarter of your grated Parmesan. Add another layer of lasagne, and repeat the layers twice more, finishing with a layer of creme fraiche and the remaining Parmesan.

Top with some slices of tomato, scatter over the small basil leaves and drizzle with olive oil.

Cover with foil, place in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.
After that, remove the foil and cook for a further 35 minutes until the lasagne is bubbling and golden.
Serve on the table with a fresh green salad and let everyone help themselves.

When I was trying to work out how long to allow for making this, I somehow hadn't read the 45 minutes for the Bolognese sauce, and thought it would be ready in time for Louis to have some too. As it was, it took almost 3 hours including prep and cooking time. I am pleased to announce it was worth the wait! Definitely not one I can rustle up after a day at work, but if I have the time and in need of some lovely tasty comfort food then I will come back to it. The bonus is that Jack and I both have lunch for work tomorrow now, and Louis might be in luck too! If I'm feeling generous to myself I might even make a 'spare' one and freeze it for after I have the baby - oooh that would be a treat! Yet again, another successful recipe from 'Ministry of Food', seriously, nothing has turned out bad from it yet.


Unknown said...

I am totally with you on this, an absolutely fab recipe, I tend to add a little teriyaki and worstershire sauce to mine, also HP sauce. It makes the world of difference! Just making mine now. I'm actually excited. MC

Anonymous said...

Delicious! I've made this about 5 times now, and have it for four meals. WE love it.. its cheap and you just freeze what you can't eat.. saved us a fortune in food shopping.

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