Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Mum’s lasagne

00:59 Posted by Dhaval Bhandari
SERVES 6-8 // PREP TIME 1 HR // COOK 1½ HRS (PLUS COOLING)

Mum’s lasagne takes me back to when I was young. We’d spend Sundays rolling pasta and making the ragù. It’s one of the first dishes I learnt to cook. Thanks Mum! This can also be made with bought fresh lasagne sheets.

Mum’s lasagne

Mum’s lasagne ingredients


  • 1 kg coarsely minced beef
  • 500 gm coarsely minced pork
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tsp rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 onion, cut into 1cm dice
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1cm dice
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into
  • 1cm dice
  • ½ cinnamon quill
  • 2 cloves
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 80 ml red wine
  • 500 ml (2 cups) tomato passata
  • 1 large eggplant, cut lengthways into 1cm slices
  • 60 gm (¾ cup) coarsely grated parmesan
  • Green salad (optional), to serve

PASTA


  • 300 gm “00” flour
  • 3 eggs

MORNAY SAUCE


  • 75 gm butter
  • 75 gm (½ cup) plain flour
  • 750 ml (3 cups) milk
  • 150 gm (1¼ cups) coarsely grated cheddar cheese

Mum’s lasagne preparation


  1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Combine beef and pork mince, garlic, rosemary and chilli in a large bowl and season to taste. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan over high heat, add half the mince and cook, stirring to break it up, until golden brown (4-6 minutes). Remove from pan and repeat with another 1 tbsp oil and remaining mince, then set aside. Heat remaining oil in the same pan over medium heat, add onion, carrot and celery and stir until softened and starting to brown (6-8 minutes). Add wine and simmer until reduced by half (1-2 minutes). Transfer to a large baking dish, add mince, spices (Breen ties them in a muslin bundle) and passata and stir to combine. Season to taste, then bake, stirring halfway through cooking, until thickened and well flavoured (1 hour). Cool.
  2. Meanwhile for pasta, combine flour and a large pinch of salt on a work surface and make a well. Add eggs, beat with your hands or a fork, then slowly incorporate flour. Once combined, knead until smooth and elastic (5 minutes). Wrap in plastic wrap and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Working with half the dough at a time, roll through a pasta machine on the widest setting a few times, folding as you go, to laminate the dough, dusting with a little flour to prevent sticking. Continue rolling and folding, reducing settings notch by notch until pasta is 1.5mm thick. Cut into 20cm lengths and transfer to a lightly floured tray. Blanch in a large saucepan of boiling salted water (30 seconds), drain, and transfer to a baking tray lined with baking paper, drizzling with oil to prevent sticking.
  3. Blanch eggplant in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender (2-3 minutes).
  4. For mornay, melt butter in a saucepan, add flour and cook, whisking, until sandy coloured (2-3 minutes). Gradually whisk in milk until smooth, then cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened (4-5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in cheddar. 
  5. Preheat oven to 180°C. Layer a third of the ragù (discard spices) into a 30cm-diameter round baking dish or a 25cm x 35cm baking dish. Add a third of the eggplant and a layer of pasta (trim to fit). Top with a third of mornay sauce, then repeat layering twice, finishing with a layer of mornay sauce. Top with parmesan, cover tightly with foil and bake until hot and bubbling (45-50 minutes). Increase oven to 200°C, uncover and bake until golden brown (20-25 minutes). Cool briefly and serve with salad. 

Wine suggestion: Gutsy red aglianico from Campania.