Lasagne

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Lasagne for me is one of the ultimate comfort food. Lasagne is a labour of love on a plate, as it does takes time to cook and prepare, I hardly make this dish but the few times I have made a lasagne is to either show love or comfort to family or friends. It was one of my favourite dish as a young child and is also now my Mom’s favourite dish. When she came to visit me in England from Macau the first thing she asked me to do was cook lasagne for her soon as she lands and this recipe was created specially for her. I hope you enjoy this too!

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KITCHEN KIT:
A large casserole pan with a lid, a medium size sauce pan and an oven-proof dish.

Ingredients Serves 4:
For the Lasagne filling:
1. 1 tbsp. butter
2. 2 rashers of pancetta, finely chopped
3. 1/4 tsp. cinnamon powder
4. 3 tbsp. olive oil
5. 1 medium onion approximately 150g, finely chopped
6. 2 cloves garlic, crushed or grated
7. 1 carrot, finely chopped
8. 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
9. 1 butternut squash approximately 600g, deseeded and chopped into small cubes
10. 2 bay leaves
11. ¼ tsp. salt
12. ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
13. ¼ tsp. chilli flakes
14. 1 tsp. dried oregano
15. 1 tsp. dried basil leaves
16. 3 sprigs of thyme
17. 1 sprigs of rosemary
18. 3 Sprigs of sage
19. 400g. minced beef
20. 400g. tinned plum tomatoes
21. 2 tbsp. tomato paste
22. 1 tsp. sugar
23. 250ml. full bodied red wine
24. 300ml. beef stock

For the pasta:
25. 400g fresh lasagne sheets

For the Béchamel Sauce:
26. 30g butter
27. 30g flour
28. ½ pint of full fat milk
29. 80g grated mature cheddar cheese (if you are strict Italian feel free to substitute to parmesan)
30. Pinch of salt
31. Pinch of pepper
32. ¼ tsp. nutmeg
33. ½ tsp. fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
34. 120g mozzarella, sliced into small pieces

For the Lasagne filling: Preheat the oven to 200ºC
1. Fry the 1 tbsp of butter with pancetta and cinnamon in a large pan over medium heat, until golden.
2. Then add 3 tbsp. of olive oil, stir in the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, butternut squash, bay leaves, salt, pepper, chilli flakes and all the herbs, fry for 2-3 minutes.
3. Next, add the beef and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, wine and beef stock, bring to boil.
4. Once it starts to boil, lower the heat (lowest heat possible) and cover the pan with a lid. Allow cooking for 1½ hour, stirring occasionally to ensure that the meat and vegetables does not stick into the pan.

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For the Béchamel Sauce:
5. On a small sauce pan over low-medium heat, make your roux; melt butter and stir in the flour, constantly stirring until well combined. Slowly add milk and grated cheese stirring constantly. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and parsley. Stop adding milk and remove from heat once the béchamel sauce is thick and smooth.

For the layering of the lasagne:
6. After 1 ½ hour, pre-heat your oven to 200ºC.
7. Lay some sheets of lasagne at the bottom of your lasagne dish, then add a layer of meat, then another layer of lasagne sheet and again meat, repeat the layers, until you reach the top of your dish. Finish it with a layer of lasagne sheets covered with Béchamel sauce.
8. Finally grate some cheddar or Parmesan cheese and place the mozzarella pieces all over your Béchamel sauce. Cook in the preheated oven for 30–35 minutes until golden.

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Serve immediately with a lovely salad on the side and finish with a yummy Tiramisu.

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