Wonderful rural Italian dish, and guaranteed without Oxo

Lasagne is one of these italian dishes (much like pizza: baked beans and chicken pizza, anyone?) that has been literally stripped off all its credentials by constant violations of mainly anglo-saxon chefs. Heck, one of the tv-commercials on British TV even proposed a microwaved lasagne with just mince, oxo and noodles, prepared in about 5 minutes. Urgh! With this recipe, you will stay close to an original lasagne, without compromising too much on convenience and cooking time. This is easy to make and very satisfactory to get out of the oven. The amounts here are for ca. 3 noders, but I've seen this being eaten by two starving adults, so YMMV.

For the sauce:

For the Béchamel Sauce:

Start by heating the olive oil in a large skillet and brown the mince, making sure that the texture is quite fine. Add onions and garlic soften them gently. Add wine, spinach,paste, tomatoes and spices and let the sauce simmer on low heat for ca 30-45 minutes, making sure that nothing sticks to the bottom of the skillet. You can add some more wine if the sauce has become too dry.

In the meantime prepare the oven dish by coating it thinly with olive oil (I normally use my fingers) and lay down the first layer of noodles. Now spread a generous helping of sauce on the noodles. Repeat that until you've run out of space, noodles or sauce (Although the last layer shoud be sauce).

Now quickly whip up the Bechamel sauce by melting the butter together with the flour in a small pot, making sure that texture is nice and smooth and heat it up slightly, until the melange becomes golden brown. Add a generous dollop of pepper, add milk while stirring continously (this easily burns at the bottom of the pan) and let it well up until it has a nice creamy texture. Cover the lasagne's surface with the sauce.

Now cover the whole piece of art with a dense layer of grated parmesan and add small butterflakes on top, with ca 2 cm distance from each other (this will help establish a nice crust). Now cover the dish with aluminium foil and shove it into a preheated oven at ca 230 degrees Celsius. Remove the foil after 15 minutes to give the crust a chance to browm.

I serve a calorie bomb like this with a fresh salad (baby spinach leafs, balsamico and toasted pine seeds for instance) and a glass of Central Otago Pinot Noir.

May your appetite be a big one!

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