Lasagne
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Ingredients / Shopping List

9 strips lasagne

400ml milk

30g flour

30g margarine

½  tsp dry English mustard

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

20g mature cheddar

150g minced beef

I onion

2 cloves garlic

1 tblsp corn oil

40g tomato puree

400g tin plum tomatoes

Bunch fresh basil

1 tsp dried oregano

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

50g mature cheddar

150ml veg stock

Prep Time:   0:20
Cook Time:   0:45
Serves:   4

Prep to Cook: Deep oblong lasagne dish, small saucepan, whisk, spatula, medium saucepan, wooden spoon, chopping board, vegetable knife. Pre-heat oven 190C or Gas 5

Prep: the meaty layer

Peel, slice and dice the onion.

Peel and grate the garlic on a small grater

Open the tin of tomatoes and mix in the tomato puree

Fry the onions with the tablespoon of oil and add the mince stirring until it browns

Stir in the tomatoes, ripped basil leaves, teaspoon dried oregano and  salt and pepper.

Add stock to ensure the meat mixture is sloppy.  Cook for 15 minutes on the hob or put into a microwave dish and simmer for 15 minutes in the microwave.

Prep the sauce: 

In a saucepan using the all-in-one method, add the flour, margarine and milk  

Whisk until the mixture boils and thickens

Stir in the mustard and the mayonnaise and 20g grated cheese.

Create the lasagne: 

Grease the dish base and sides

Place layer of lasagne to cover the base

Spoon over half the hot minced beef mixture and top this with more lasagne

Add the remaining beef mix and top with the final 3 pieces of lasagne

Cover this with the white flavoured sauce

Top with grated cheddar and cook in the oven for 45 minutes

Check it out !

Make me a meal that is tasty, colourful, easy to eat and not too expensive.  I wonder what dish would be better than a Lasagne to meet these criteria?  

Lasagne needs to fit the dish you select to use and therefore buy a pack of lasagne that appears to be the correct size for the dish you are going to use.  Break the lasagne if need be to make it fit accurately.

Cooks Know How: Making a Lasagne is making a pasta based meal that is ready-to-eat and cooked beforehand.  It is one of those meals that you can prepare for. There are three parts, the lasagne, flat rolled pasta; the meaty part and the white sauce topping. The minced beef mixture can be made and frozen.  The white sauce can be prepared and frozen too. In this way the complex preparation of the parts can be made very manageable.  The appeal of the dish comes partly from the fact that each part is fundamental yet variable.  It is possible to prepare the pasta yourself from pasta dough, rolled in the pasta making machine to very thin layers.  Additions to the pasta dough will manifest variables such as green lasagne, from the addition of spinach; red lasagne from the addition of sun dried tomato pulp.  Bought fresh or dried pasta can be used depending upon availability and price restraints.   

The meaty sauce based upon a Ragu sauce base of minced beef and tomato may also contain grated carrot, diced celery and mushrooms.  It is of course, possible to serve the Lasagne with a grated carrot salad to vary the textures and leave them out of the baking.

The white sauce is flavoured, rather like a Bechamel, so that the cheese does not dominate too strongly.  It covers the top layer of pasta to keep it soft during cooking and adds juiciness to the dish that makes it easy to eat. 

This dish demonstrates the skills of meat cookery, sauce-making and pasta cooking.  The use of the oven allows all the flavours to bake together whist the pasta absorbs the flavoursome juices and softens, as the starch gels.  The meat sauce tenderises the beef and develops the flavours of tomato, garlic and herbs.  On the surface the sprinkled cheese melts and browns.  The resulting pasta dish is easy to portion and almost a complete meal in itself. 

When considering the production of the dish it is one that lends itself to manufacture in bulk, making two takes relatively little more time than making one.  The dish freezes beautifully, thaws and re-heats easily.  Nutritionally Lasagne provides a well balanced meal of protein, carbohydrates, fat minerals and vitamins all in one serving.  

Next Time

Adding more vegetables is always a good way to enhance the health benefits of the dish and to make the meal cheaper per portion.  Try adding vegetables that cook into the meat sauce such as mushrooms or grated carrot.  Colour contrast provided through the addition of tinned sweetcorn also makes a change and increases the fibre content of the dish. 

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