Tuesday 3 April 2012

Berny's Ultimate Lasagne

Yup this is MY recipe.  Many people claim to make the worlds greatest Lasagne but i mean it and have proven it to such people on many occasions.  One bite into my Lasagne and they are raising their little white flags.  This is the combination of various recipes and Italian delights eaten in back street cafes in Italy and "world's greatest" Lasagnes cooked for me by friends and family.  More specifically it combines a fantastic vegetarian Lasagne cooked by a friend back at university and a beautiful bolognaise cooked by a housemate whilst i was training for my PGCE.  It is a half and half Lasagne with two layers of meat and one layer of veg.  This really is the Ultimate.  Please note that i have no idea of specific quantities so you will need to use your better judgement.  Also note that the picture shows measly layers of meat and i recommend that you make them much thicker.


The meat layers -  (better prepared the night before)
Minced Beef
Diced Onion
Diced carrot, celery and courgette.   (a bowl of beef needs a bowl of these mixed diced vegetables)
Tinned chopped tomatoes
2 red peppers (blended with some of the tinned tomatoes)
Garlic paste
Tomato Puree
Balsamic vinegar
Red wine
Dried mixed Italian Herbs

The vegetable layer -
Spinach (a lot! i always fall short)
Sliced Courgette
buffalo Mozzarella

The rest -
Pasta sheets
White sauce
Cottage cheese
Grated cheddar cheese


Fry the onion in some oil until browned and add the meat and garlic.  Add the diced vegetables and sweat for a bit.  Once cooked and browned, pour in the blended tomato/pepper mix and add the mixed herbs.  Cook this down for a while.  Now add the rest of the tomatoes, a glug of wine and balsamic vinegar to taste.  Reduce it down and cook on a low heat for a long time.  A good couple of hours.  Season and add tomato puree as you feel required.  You should have a thick consistency with very little liquid.  For the veg layer you need to blanch the spinach in hot water and saute the sliced courgettes in butter.

Now we just assemble.  Put a layer of your cooled meat sauce (thicker than the layers in my picture) and place on your pasta sheets.  repeat this for the second layer.  For the veg layer you need to spread the blanched spinach evenly with a decent thickness.  this is usually where you realise that you havn't bought enough spinach.  Layer on chunks of the buffalo mozzarella (for ultimate stringy mess) and then the sauteed courgettes.  Season and put on your final layer of pasta sheets.  Whatever white sauce you choose to use; spread it on top.  I shamefully use a bottle and mix cottage cheese into it.  Sprinkle with the cheddar and it is ready for the oven.

Some people prefer to have a white sauce layer between all the layers but i think that shadows the fact the we have two completely different layers going on.  Bake, covered with foil, on a medium heat for 30-40 minutes.  Remove the foil and cook for a further 10-20 minutes for a crispy brown top. 

1 comment:

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