♬ 'The B Funk' by Beverly Knight
Lasagna has been through a culinary travesty this week.
WHY ON EARTH would anyone want to add horse meat to a ready meal? Those two words should never be put together, maybe horse seeds, horse feed, anything but 'meat'. Don't get me started on 'ready-meal'!
I know to a certain extent pigs, cattle, sheep and other mammals that could be categorized as cute are in the food chain, and don't get me wrong, I've tasted many delicacies, like a kangaroo burger. However I knew what I was getting my teeth into. Imagine reading 'beef lasagna' then finding out that certain companies have been adding other bits of animals.
Horses don’t belong in our lasagna. We should look after them.
I know sausages, seafood sticks and anything that doesn’t specify 'organic' or '99% meat content' to some extent contain water, and animal parts that we don’t want to fathom. In fact (it kills me to type this) ready meals are convenient and so many people rely on them. Making lasagna from scratch every time won’t suit every household due to busy schedules, so what can be done?
The only thing TO DO is to make lasagna and make it well. Forget ready meals that incubate random meat. Buy your own mince, even buy your own sauces to make the dish as quick as you can if you have to. For those who have two and a half hours please read and try this gorgeous rich recipe...
After I put this in the oven I contacted Mr Portelli (Italian cooking bud) and asked for lasagna advice. I started the layering the incorrect way. I will give you both options anyway.
Luxury Lamb Lasagna
Oven tray- deep and wide.
Organic lamb mince 500g
Tomato puree 2tbsp
Olive oil 1 tbsp
1 tbsp sundried tomato paste
Italian sieved tomato passata 500g
1 small onion
fresh rosemary leaves 2 sprigs
fresh thyme leaves 3 sprigs
dried oregano 2 tsp
2 garlic cloves
Sea salt and pepper
Black garlic (2 cloves)
1 bay leaf
Bacon lardons 20g
2 drops Tabasco
: Chop onion and put in a big pot with oil, let the onions soften.
: Meanwhile chop rosemary, thyme, mushrooms, and crush fresh garlic.
: Once onions are soft tip in garlic and let this fry for a minute, then add mushrooms and chopped aubergine.
: After 5 minutes add lamb and let it brown. Time for herbs and bacon to get involved.
: Once you can smell the herbs, pour in passata with puree, black garlic and sundried tomato paste.
: Stir well then add 2 drops of tabasco and bay leaf.
: Simmer for 1 hour and season to taste.
: You will be left with a rich thick ragu sauce.
Preheat oven 180°c.
Béchamel Sauce by Delia Smith. I added my own pink peppercorn twist.
20g plain flour
Pink peppercorns (or black)
1 crushed garlic
1 bay leaf
: Bring to the boil milk, 10 peppercorns, garlic and bay leaf. Put to one side to infuse.
: Melt butter and then add flour and whisk until a glossy dough. Turn off heat.
: Pour and sieve milk in four batches in this dough mixture and use a fork to start off with, then switch to whisk. Keep on going until it resembles thick cream. Discard peppercorns, garlic and bay leaf.
: Put back on heat and simmer for 5 minutes, whisk every now and then to prevent lumps and a skin forming.
Now the layering part, I put ragu at the bottom then béchamel, pasta sheets, ragu, béchamel and so forth until pasta sheet on top with béchamel and parmesan to finish.
Mr Portelli advises:
Butter greased at the base of tray and start with pasta sheets, ragu, béchamel, parmesan, pasta sheets and so forth until pasta at the top with extra bit of butter for a crispy top.
Whichever way you want to go bake for an hour and serve with colourful salad.
'Flavour of the old school'