e cooks: classic lasagna

Last Sunday was a day I reserve every year for one thing and one thing only: the Wimbledon Men's Final.

Our friends S & T came over to watch it with us, which was a good thing as we were all united in our support for Federer! Even though he ended up losing which was a huge disappointment, it was an absolutely incredible 5 set match - one of the best finals I've ever watched. I am a hardcore Nadal fan (if you haven't read his book and you're a tennis enthusiast, you must) so I was pretty sad that he was knocked out earlier on, but I have faith that he'll step up next year!

Enough tennis talk. The whole point of this post is to talk about what we did to fuel ourselves for the passionate cheering, which was eating E's homemade lasagna.

I will include a recipe here in case you're interested, but he says it's really a mishmash of recipes he's looked up in the past and nothing too fancy. There are a couple of ingredients in the ragu that might not be in a more basic recipe that adds some depth of flavour, but aside from that it's pretty standard.

Ingredients:

{Ragu}
50g butter
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
3 star anis
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 large celery stalk, finely diced
1 sachet garni (mixed herbs)
800g good quality minced beef (or mix of beef, veal & pork)
200ml red wine
grated nutmeg
1 large spoon tomato paste
200ml whole milk
600ml passata
few drops fish sauce
few drops soy sauce
2 spoons ketchup
60ml sherry vinegar
2 tsp coriander seeds

{BΓ©chamel sauce}
50g butter
50g flour
750ml whole milk

{Assembly}
1 box egg lasagna sheets
1 ball fresh mozzarella cheese

To make:

{Ragu}
1. Heat up a bit of oil with the butter, cook the onions and 1 star anis on low heat for 30 minutes.
2. Add the garlic, carrot, celery and herbs, cook for 5-8 minutes.
3. Season and spread the beef in a large frying pan on high heat, leave to cook untouched for 5-6 minutes.

4. Stir the meat for 10-12 minutes until it begins to stick to the pan, add the red wine and reduce until there is barely any liquid, add nutmeg.
5. Combine with the onion mixture, add the milk, reduce until thickened.
6. Add passata, fish sauce, soy sauce, ketchup, sherry vinegar, coriander seeds. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 2 hours half covered, then 30 minutes uncovered until sauce is almost dry. Add a little water if needed.

{BΓ©chamel}
1. Melt the butter in a pan, add flour in one go.
2. Mix in the milk slowly to combine, and keep adding to make the desired consistency.

{Assemble}
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
1. Blanch the lasagna sheets for one minute in boiling water.
2. Layer up: ragu, bΓ©chamel, pasta, repeat. Top with diced mozzarella cheese.
3. Bake for 40 minutes.