EASY BEEF LASAGNE

(Serves 6)

MEAT SAUCE

15 ml   olive oil

1          onion, chopped

2          garlic cloves, crushed

2          carrots, peeled and grated

125 ml finely sliced celery

30 ml   chopped rosemary OR thyme

750 g   low fat beef mince

1 tin     chopped Italian tomatoes

500 ml tomato passata

125 ml white wine

10 ml   sugar

15 ml   Garlic and herb seasoning

            Salt and black pepper to taste

BECHAMEL SAUCE

125 g   butter

125 ml flour

1,25ml milk

            Salt and black pepper to taste

250 ml grated strong cheddar cheese (or parmesan cheese)

TO FINISH

250 g   lasagne sheets (I prefer to use Barilla pasta sheets)

300 g   mozzarella cheese, cut into thin slices

60 ml   basil pesto

            Few vine tomatoes

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot and sauté the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and rosemary(or thyme) for a few minutes on high heat.
  • Add the meat allowing it to brown. Season with salt and black pepper and stir to break up any lumps (use a fork). Add the tinned chopped tomatoes, tomato passata,  white wine, sugar and the garlic and herb seasoning.
  • Set the stove on medium to low heat, cover and let it simmer until the meat and vegetables are cooked and the sauce has thickened. I normally cook it for about 30 minutes but traditionally it is cooked for hours on low heat. You need to give it a stir every now and then. Set aside.
  • Prepare the béchamel sauce: Heat the butter on medium heat in another saucepan until melted, add the flour and stir on the heat for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the milk. Whisk it well to ensure that there are no lumps.
  • Put it back on the heat and stir all the time as it heats up, cooks through and thickens to your liking.  Add salt and black pepper to taste. Stir in the cheese.
  • Use an oven-proof dish to construct your lasagne layers. First off, spoon a few tablespoons of the meat sauce onto the bottom of the lasagne dish.
  • Then place a layer of the pasta sheets and , top with a layer of meat, a layer of béchamel sauce and a layer of mozzarella cheese (use all the mozzarella cheese for this layer). Drizzle over all the pesto.
  • Repeat this step, now the last layer should be the béchamel sauce.
  • Cover the lasagne dish with foil or a lid and bake in the oven for 40 minutes until it is done.
  • Remove the foil, top with the vine tomatoes and sprinkle with the paprika
  • Bake for another 10 minutes
  • Let the lasagne stand for 10 minutes before serving
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