For all those budding cooks out there I have to recommend Jamie Oliver’s new book Ministry of Food. I discovered how fun it can be to cook through his recipes a few years back. They never fail to satisfy the palate!
So in the spirit of Ministry of Food I am going to attempt to convert readers by adding a simple lasagne recipe as included in the latest book but with a couple of added touches from my good self.
What I love about Jamie Oliver is that his classic recipes are so damn simple. Unlike that Tourettes sufferer Ramsey, they use relatively cheap ingredients and I can honestly say I have found it a joy to learn how to create a great dinner from scratch.
In this recipe I he does something I have never considered. He dumps the raw mince straight into the slightly softened veg and lets the mince cook in the sauce rather than browning it first as is the norm. The result is a melt in the mouth bolognaise which is simply fab. When buying the bacon, get urself two nice slices of good smoked bacon from the butchers counter. The chopped chilli and paprika is my addition – gives it a bit of a kick. I also add the little bit of sugar. Antonio Carluccio recommends adding lots of sugar to any tomato sauce and I think it works great.
If you are happy to spend a little extra on fresh lasagna sheets – DO IT! Makes the dish cook better and eliminates hard crispy bits in the middle. Serve it with a good glass of red wine and a nice salad – Enjoy – here’s the recipe.
For the Bolognaise sauce
2 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
2 medium onions (finely chopped)
2 medium carrots (finely chopped)
2 sticks celery (finely chopped)
1 red chilli (finely chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (crushed and chopped)
Two heaped teaspoons dried oregano
Teaspoon smoked paprika
250g minced pork
250g minced beef
Small handful sugar/castor sugar
2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes
Glass red wine
Bunch fresh basil
50g parmesan cheese
For the lasagne
250g lasagne sheets preferably fresh
1 x 500ml tub creme fraiche
100 gram Parmesan cheese
Handful grated cheddar cheese
1 ripe tomato
To make the bolognaise
Finely slice the bacon and prepare the veg. Place a large casserole type dish on a medium heat. Add 2 glugs of olive oil, garlic, your sliced bacon and oregano – cook and stir well for a few minutes till the bacon is lightly golden. Add the carrots, celery, onions and chopped chilli and cook for about 8-9 mins until the veg is slightly softened. Make sure you stir every 40 seconds to prevent sticking. Stir in the raw mince and cans of tomatoes. Fill one of the empty tins with water and add to the pan along with the red wine. Stir in a good dose of salt and pepper. Finely chop the stalks from the basil and add it to the sauce along with the paprika and sugar. Bring to the boil. Turn down heat and let sauce simmer with lid on for about 45-50 minutes or until the sauce has a good consistency. You don’t want it too watery!
To finish the sauce
Preheat the oven to 190c/gas 5. Remove the Bolognese sauce from the heat. Add the finely grated Parmesan and stir in well. Take any large Basil leave, rip them up and put them into the sauce leaving any smaller ones for later.
To make your lasagne
Spoon a third of your sauce into the bottom of an earthenware oven proof dish. Follow with a layer of lasagne sheets. Dollop over a third of your creme fraiche and smooth it out to cover the lasagne. Sprinkle one third of the Parmesan and some salt and pepper. Add another layer of lasagne and repeat the layers twice more finishing with a layer of cremer fraiche and the remaining Parmesan. Add your grated cheddar. Top with slices of tomato and remaining basil. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 20 minutes. After that, remove the foil and cook for further 35 minutes until the lasagne is bubbling and golden.