Lasagne – deconstructed and delicious
- Serves: 6 |
- Difficulty: moderate
- Prep Time : 20 mins |
- Cook Time : 45 mins
¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
100 g bacon, minced or chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 carrots, diced small or grated
2 celery sticks, diced small
2 bay leaves
650 g beef mince
⅗ C (150 ml) dry white wine
1 C (250 ml) chicken stock
1 C (250 ml) milk
2 tins (2 x 400 g) chopped tomatoes
2 tins (2 x 400g) fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped
pinch of grated nutmeg
1 Tbsp (15 ml) fresh oregano, chopped
2 Tbsp (30 ml) fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp (30 ml) fresh basil, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
White Sauce (Béchamel)
1 litre milk
4 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
70 g butter
2 Tbsp (30 ml) Dijon mustard
90 g plain flour
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
150 g Parmesan cheese
Heat 30 ml of the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan and fry the onions and bacon until the onions are soft. Add garlic and fry for a minute; add carrot and celery and fry until soft. Add bay leaves, transfer to a bowl and set aside. Heat the remaining oil in the same pan and brown the mince to add flavour. Return the vegetables to pan and bring to a simmer. Add wine and stir to deglaze and remove any bits sticking to the bottom. Add stock and simmer until reduced by half. Add milk and reduce by half. Add tomatoes and simmer until reduced by half. Cover with a lid and continue cooking for 1 hour, the sauce should be thick. Add nutmeg, fresh herbs and season to taste.
White Sauce (Béchamel)
Place a small saucepan on a medium heat. Heat milk very slowly with onion, bay leaf, clove and black pepper corns. Before the milk boils, switch off and allow to infuse for 5 minutes and then strain.
Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan; add the flour and mix to combine. Allow the roux to cook out a little and then add a ladle of infused milk while stirring continuously. Continue to add milk one ladle at a time and ensure that no lumps form. Simmer gently without burning. Grate a little nutmeg in, add mustard and adjust seasoning.
Sauce should just coat the back of a spoon when ready. Add the Parmesan cheese and incorporate.
In oven proof shallow dish 25 x 25 cm and 10 cm deep place a ladle of the white sauce followed by sheets of lasagne, followed by bolognese. Alternate layers, as many as you can fit. Finish with the white sauce and grated Parmesan on top.
Bake in moderate oven for 45 minutes.
For a different approach I made a slow braised brisket making a rich sauce with the same ingredients. Once the brisket was cooled down and sliced into little slabs it was cooked again and caramelised with jus. Slow roasted baby tomatoes, grilled porcini mushrooms and crispy streaky bacon were added. Instead of the traditional Béchamel sauce I made a thicker version with a lot of cheddar cheese, almost resembling a spread. The pasta sheets were cooked and then finished in a pan with butter and parsley. The construction was roughly based on an open lasagne but more abstract. And was topped with a spinach and basil puree, slow roasted tomato puree, thick cheese sauce, crispy parmesan pieces and deep fried basil leaves.
To make your own ‘deconstructed’ Lasagne, cook all the elements separately, instead of placing in a oven dish to cook, plate individual portions. Start with a layer of meat sauce, topped with a layer of white sauce and then a layer of pasta. Repeat, placing as carefully as you can to form a rough stack. Top with a parmesan crisp and serve.