I find that when making this dish, it is the easiest way to get the little one’s to eat veggies without even knowing it. Sounds perfect to me!
- Yield: 6 servings
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cooking Time: 30 – 40 minutes
Lasagna Sheets| 9
For the Mince
Lean Beef Mince|500g
Fruit Chutney – of your preferred choice|1 Tbls
White Onion – finely chopped|1 (medium sized)
Fresh Garlic – finely chopped|2 cloves
Carrot – peeled & finely grated|1 (medium sized)
Celery Stalks – finely chopped|2
Courgette – finely grated|1 (medium sized) OR use 100g of grated mushrooms
Fresh Thyme|1 tsp
Tinned Tomatoes – peeled & chopped|1 small tin
Tomato Paste|1 Tbls
Olive Oil|for frying
Salt & Pepper|to taste
For the White Sauce
Full Cream Milk – slightly warmed| 1L
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
- For the mince – heat a little olive oil in a large heavy based frying pan.
- Over a medium heat, sauté onions, garlic, celery, carrot, courgette (or mushroom if preferred) & thyme. This needs to cook for about 10 – 20 minutes (you want all the veggies to cook until nice & soft)
- Season with salt & pepper at this stage, always season from the base up – this builds your flavour profile of each & every dish you make.
- Add mince, using a wooden spoon, break the mince meat apart so that you don’t get large “meat ball” like lumps.
- Allow to cook off until all natural juices from the mince has cooked away & mixture starts to fry & brown slightly.
- Spoon chutney into your well seasoned mince mixture, stir until well combined – taste & season again if necessary. You want well balanced flavours of sweet & salty – remember that the sweetness will counter balance the tartness of the tomatoes.
- Add the tin of chopped tomatoes, as well as the tomato taste – add a little hot water or beef stock if necessary, you don’t want a dry lasagna!
- Allow your meaty goodness to simmer on a low heat on the back plate while you make the white sauce. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
- For the white sauce – in a medium sized sauce pan, heat the butter until just melted.
- Remove from the heat & add the flour all at once, while whisking continuously. This will form a roux.
- Return the roux back to the heat, cook the flour for about 5 minutes – season with a little salt, remembering your flavour profile.
- Remove the sauce pan from the heat & gradually add the warm milk, do not stop whisking.
- Return well combined, sauce mixture to the heat, whisk slowly until it thickens up nicely. To check if it is thick enough, dip a wooden spoon onto your sauce – if it coats the back of the spoon generously, its done. Taste for seasoning.
- Strain through a fine mesh sieve to ensure you are left with a silky smooth white sauce.
- The Layering – ladle enough sauce into your chosen, greased oven proof dish to coat the bottom.
- Add a layer of lasagna sheets.
- Top with a layer of perfectly cooked, wholesome mince meat, then sauce again.
- Continue to repeat these steps until both sauce & mince are used up.
- Top with grated mature cheddar cheese & bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 – 40 minutes.
NB: Always start and end with sauce, that way the pasta will have enough liquid to cook through & become al denté rather than dry & crisp.
I ran out of fruit chutney without realising it, BUT I did recently put together a cheese & cold meat platter for lunch the other day so I had figs preserved in syrup handy in the fridge.
I substituted the chutney for some fig syrup, it was surprisingly just as delicious! (if not more)