DadBod Style ‘Lasagne Quattro Formaggi’
Hello Foodies! This week we are going to take a break from my Japanese travels in order to share my epic lasagne recipe. I made this the other day because I had some really good butcher’s mince in the freezer, and I wanted to make the best of it. The rich, meaty Bolognese sauce is inspired by Tom Kerridge and Oli Mannion (@imtheonewhocooks). The rest is my idea of a luxurious flavour-packed, restaurant standard lasagne. The great thing about this is that it’s a dish for all occasions. Suitable for a sunny al fresco lunch, or a cold evening in. Just make sure you have some delicious wine to go with it and perhaps some nice people to share it with! Although, sharing might be an issue when you taste how good it is… Anyway, without further ado, light the candles/put up your best garden parasol, crack open some full-bodied redders and get ready to dig into an amazing feast of baked pasta goodness!
Ingredients for 4 Greedy People (6 ‘Normals’)
- 500g Highest Quality Beef Mince (Could mix with Lamb Mince)
- 150g Mushrooms
- 3 Large Garlic Cloves
- 2 Sprigs Rosemary & Thyme
- 1 tsp Whole Black Peppercorns
- 1 Glass Red Wine/Port
- 1 Large Onion
- 1 Celery Stick
- 1 Large Carrot
- 2 tsp of Dried Italian Herbs
- 2 tblsp Olive Oil
- 1 tblsp Tomato Puree
- 1 Tin of Tomatoes
- 1 Beef Stockpot (not essential)
The Cheese Sauce:
- 75g Butter
- 2 tblsp White Flour
- 500ml Whole Milk (might need a bit more)
- 1 Garlic Clove/3 Wild Garlic Leaves
- 1 Handful Grated Cheddar (2 if not using Blue Cheese)
- 1 Handful Broken up Blue Cheese (optional) – Gorgonzola ideally, but stilton or Roquefort work too!
- Salt & Pepper
- 400g Lasagne Sheets
- 1 Pack Mozzarella
- 1 Handful Grated Parmesan
Let’s Create Something Great!
(For ultimate results, start this process in the morning so you can slow cook the sauce throughout the day. This means all the flavours can combine, and the sauce has time to get deliciously intense and rich)
- Turn your oven on and heat to around 190˚C.
- We’re going to start by roasting our meat and mushrooms to make them super rich and delicious.
- So, put your meat on a roasting tray and finely chop your shrooms.
- Use a pestle and mortar to roughly grind the pepper with a big pinch of salt, 1 garlic clove and a few sprigs of the rosemary and thyme – this spreads a beautiful heated fragrance through the meat!
- Put the pepper mixture and mushrooms in with the mince and mix it all together with your hands.
- When everything has been combined well, form the mixture into a meatloaf and put the rest of the rosemary and thyme on top, and drizzle over half the olive oil.
- Roast for 30-40 mins. This should create a nice crust but some of the meat will still be pink in the middle.
- In the meantime, start making your tomato sauce.
- Start by finely chopping your onion, celery and carrot.
- Heat a large lidded pan/slow cooker pot to medium high and then add a good few glugs of olive oil.
- Add the chopped veg, dried herbs, a pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper.
- Cook this through for about 3 minutes before lowering the heat slightly and adding the 2 garlic cloves (crushed or finely chopped).
- Stir occasionally and fry for another couple of minutes before adding the tomato puree, and then cook until everything has softened.
- At this point whack the heat back up and add the tinned tomatoes and the stockpot – refill the tin with water and swill that in too.
- Once it all starts simmering again, give it a good stir, then turn the heat right down/transfer to the slow-cooker and cook as low and slow as you can!
- Add the meat to the sauce and break up roughly with a wooden spoon.
- Deglaze the roasting tray with the wine/port/both and add that to the sauce too.
- Keep checking on it, giving it a stir and adding extra water or seasoning as required. (If your meat is in chunks that are too large, squash them with a potato masher until they are the required consistency).
- By the time you need to assemble you should have a rich, thick sauce to layer up. (If it needs more/less liquid, add boiling water or turn up the heat to reduce it down)
The Cheese Sauce (do this just before you start your assembly):
- Start by melting the butter on a medium high heat with the crushed/finely chopped garlic.
- Add the flour, stir well and cook through for a couple of minutes.
- Start to add the milk, slowly at first. Whisk thoroughly and add little by little, each time it thickens. Once you’ve added half the milk, you can add in larger doses.
- When the white sauce is made, add the cheese and stir it in.
- At this stage, try it and then add some salt and pepper to taste – also you can adjust the thickness by adding more milk or cooking down for longer. You are looking for it to slowly fall off a spoon, and then you’ll have the right consistency!
- You now have a lovely, super cheesy sauce to layer between your lasagne!
- Heat your oven to 180˚c.
- In a baking dish, begin layering up your lasagne.
- Start with a layer of the Bolognese, then lasagne sheets, then cheese sauce, then sheets and so on until you have used everything up/filled your ovenproof lasagne dish. Ideally, finish with a layer of cheese sauce.
- On top of this, tear over your mozzarella and then grate over the parmesan. Now, we are good to go!
- Put it in the oven (I tend to put a larger roasting tray underneath the lasagne dish, in case things bubble over!) and bake for around 40 minutes, or until the cheese on top has turned a beautiful golden brown and the pasta is lovely and al dente.
- At this stage, serve with some fresh greens and a large glass of wine. Then, sit back, eat some amazing food and feel incredibly smug about how good you are at cooking!
And there it is! My incredibly indulgent, rather inauthentic, but absolutely delicious lasagne ‘quattro formaggi’. It really isn’t very difficult to make but the results are fantastic! Lasagne is a great comfort food, but it can transport me to amazing Italian restaurants, and it has the ability to be the perfect centre piece at any dinner party. So, whether you’re making this for some glorious lockdown respite, or practicing it for that first big meet-up when this is all done, this is the dish for you! So, give it a go, enjoy it and let me know how you get on! It certainly brought me a few great hours of happiness.
Yours in food,