May 27, 2015
Nick is the lasagne maker in our house. I don’t bother because he always makes it better than me. It varies a little each time because he doesn’t use a recipe, just tinkers about in the kitchen using what ever he fancies.
We took Lulu on one of our favourite walks in Derbyshire, to a place where at this time of year the wild garlic is plentiful. It had never occurred to me to cook with it until I saw a recipe for wild garlic and mushroom quiche on Dom’s blog, Bellau Kitchen. You can see his quiche recipe here. It was delicious and we have gathered wild garlic for cooking ever since.
This is not so much a recipe for lasagne as a concept. It’s not at all authentic so it probably should be really described as a pasta bake, not lasagne! But Nick used lasagne sheets so for me it’s a lasagne! I did however manage to pin him down and commit to paper the exact ingredients he used this time, while he still had his pinny on and it was fresh in his mind!
For the meat sauce
2 tblsp olive oil and/or garlic oil for frying
450g low fat minced beef (we used 10% fat)
1 large or 2 small onions
1 large carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
⅓ - ½ of a red, yellow and green pepper, or a selection as you like
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped and squished
6 chestnut mushrooms, chopped
1-2 tsp herbes de Provence
1 tsp oregano
1 can chopped tomatoes
a good squeeze tomato purée
salt and pepper
To construct the lasagne
6 lasagne sheets
a handful of wild garlic leaves, washed and torn into pieces
For the béchamel sauce
¾ pint milk
1 tblsp plain flour
pinch of mace
2 tblsp grated cheddar
a sprinkle of grated emmental cheese to finish.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan with a lid.
Brown the mince and add the onions and continue to fry for a couple of minutes. Next add the carrots and stir them in, giving them a minute or two to get cooking, then do the same with the celery. By now the mix should be sizzling a little and steaming.
Stir in the garlic and peppers and put the lid on, still on a moderately high heat. After a couple of minutes stir in the herbs and mushrooms, put the lid back on and turn down the heat so it doesn’t burn. The idea is to cook the mushrooms in the mixture’s juices for a few minutes and then add the tomatoes and puree, give it a good stir, season to your taste and leave to simmer whilst you make the cheesy sauce.
While the sauce is cooking, make the béchamel sauce – you simply put the flour and a splash of milk into a pan and stir to a smooth paste, then stir in the rest of the milk and Nick’s secret ingredient - a little pinch of mace - chuck the butter in and cook while stirring until it thickens. Add the grated cheddar and stir until it melts into the sauce.
Construct the lasagne by putting a layer of the meat sauce in the bottom of the dish, sprinkle half of the wild garlic leaves on top. Put a layer of lasagne sheets on top of that. Repeat until you run out of space or sauce.
Spread the béchamel sauce on top of the final layer of lasagne sheets and sprinkle with a handful of the grated emmental, cheddar or parmesan.
(Nick also sometimes puts a layer of béchamel between two sheets of pasta in the middle rather than just meat sauce, pasta, meat sauce, pasta. It all depends on the size and depth of the dish and how much sauce he’s made!!!! )
Bake at 200°C / 180°fan for about 40 minutes until the top is browned and the meat sauce is bubbling.
Apologies for the lousy spacing on this post!
Blogger would not recognise Windows Live Writer after all these years of using it so I did a cut and paste job and it mucked up all my spacing. Grrrrrrr.......