Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lala's lasagne

This recipe is pretty much my mum's recipe.. although we always manage to make it taste completely different.  To be honest mine tastes different every time. but i must say, I do like my own (and my family's) lasagne.  There are a few other people's lasagne dishes I've enjoyed, I can literally count them on 1 hand (my Uncle Kiki's, and my Aunt Isabel's, and my best friend's mum Pat).  I'm sure there are plenty of delicious lasagnas out there but i haven't had the pleasure, and frankly, I don't even really want to try cos there's not much I abhor tasting more than a bad lasagne. 

anyway here goes:

Sauce for meaty lasagna (a slight variation to the bolognese ragu sauce)
  • 2 med-large onions (i like to use one when i'm just making bolognese, but 2 when i'm making bolognese for lasagne specifically)
  • head of garlic chopped
  • 200g approx of bacon - i like lean (short). chopped into quite small bits
  • 500-600g of lean pork, beef or a mixture. 
  • Tomato paste (kunserva)
  • 2 tins polpa (diced tomatoes)
  • sugar, pepper, olive oil, salt, herbs
  • dry red wine, about 100-150 mls
Ok so - fry up onion on a low heat till it's all golden and soft, then add the bacon, fry for a little bit, then garlic, and fry for a minute or 2.. then turn up the heat, add the minced meat and keep on stirfrying and breaking up the meat till it's all browned.

then add 2 huge tablespoons (as in mega heaped) of tomato paste, a couple of teaspoons of sugar and some pepper - no salt as yet!! stir that into the minced meat and stirfry for another couple of minutes.

then add: herbs (i use italian plus extra oregano) and 2 tins of tomato, and a glass of red wine. I normally use the wine to "rinse" the tomato tin to get all the juice. hehe.

Bring to bubbling point then turn heat RIGHT down, put it on the lowest flame on the cooker, and leave it for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If it looks like it's getting dry, for the first 20minutes or so add wine, but don't add wine past the 30minute mark, cos it will be too strong. add water after this point. If it needs salt add it not before the 30 minute mark - but remember it has bacon, and also will have extra salty stuff due to the cheese in the bechamel...

The sauce should look and taste really nice and rich :) nom!!!!

just like a regular bolognese, only more bacony.  nom!

Making the lasagne
  • 1 packet lasagne sheets
  • 1 lot bechamel sauce (this time i used *HORROR* packet bechamel, with added cheese to it) - but i do highly recommend making your own.  everyone has a different recipes but essentially it's a quantity of milk, with added flour/cornflour, and butter, thickened, and then about a cup of grated cheddar cheese added to make it cheesy for lasagne)
  • extra milk
  • grated parmesan
  • pepper, salt
Pour some sauce into the base of a deep baking dish, spread it around,.  this is to prevent the bottom layer of pasta sticking to the dish :)

Start piecing together bits of sheets to cover the base.  Don't be afraid of breaking the corners off (in fact i recommend it, for reasons yet to come!), as well as pieces to make sure they fit without overlapping.

Ladle half the remaining sauce carefully over the layer of pasta and spread it around.

Pour about a ladle of bechamel on top of the sauce. 
the secret to extra saucy lasagne, the way i like it :)
Repeat another pasta and the remaining bolognese sauce layer.

At this point, carefully pour a little bit of milk in the corners, allowing it to sink to the bottom of the dish.  this it to ensure the pasta has enough liquid to cook.

Then pour the rest of the bechamel  carefully on top (best to ladle then somewhat spread), sprinkling with extra parmesan, salt and pepper.
before ovening... heheh
Ideally, let sit for a couple of hours before placing in a med-hot oven (180-200 - 375/400) for about 40 minutes until bubbling and brown on top.  If you have an oven that tends to burn the tops of things, then I would suggest covering it with foil for the first 20 minutes then taking it off to brown up :)
The times are totally approximate and really depends on your oven.  but the secret it, if it looks done, it probably is.  Just in case, stick a knife through, and it should go right through if the pasta is cooked :)

Trust me when i say, let it sit for at least 10 minutes before attempting to serve, otherwise you'll have Lasagna like stew (which is delicious but doesn't look very good).

Lasagne was completely devoured before a photo was taken, so I'm afraid i don't have pictures of the ready product.  next time gadget!! *shakes fist*

Some hints -
  • u can prepare this without baking up to 1.5 days before.  Just take it out of the fridge a couple of hours before cooking, and sometimes, it needs an extra 10 minutes or so to ensure it's all hot throughout.  
  • i like to make double sauce and freeze one portion, to be made up into lasagne in the next couple of months ^_^
  • the cooked dish is excellent frozen into portions then warmed up in the microwave for work lunches <3
  • leftover lasagne, in any form, is the shit.  i highly recommend it.  especially cold straight out of the fridge when hungover :)

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