I like making a really rich meat sauce for my Lasagne. So there is lots of tomato. If you really want to make it decadent you can make your own fresh pasta, but instant pasta sheets are fine.
Ingredients – Meat Sauce
- 500g alpaca mince (or lean beef mince) – not as good but I’m bias.
- 1 medium to large onion. I prefer red onions.
- 1 large cellery stick
- 1 large carrot
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- 1 can of crushed tomatoes, if you have fresh tomato’s all the better
- 2tsp paprika
- 2tble spoons tomato paste
- 1 cup good quality pasata (tomato puree)
- pinch of dried chilli
- 1 red capsicum
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 desert spoon brown sugar (optional used to balance out the acidity of tomatoes.)
- 2tbls olive oil
- 2 tsp mixed herbs
- Beef stock
- equal parts plain flour to butter.
- Salt & pepper to tast
- Parmesan cheese & tasty cheese
Preparing the Meat Sauce
Now if you really want to make this dish easy you can put all of the vegetables and into the food processor and blitz them up. I tend to use the food processor to blitz the carrot, onion, cellery and garlic and chop the capsicum for more texture. If you dont have a food processor chopping is fine.
Add olive oil to a heavy based pan and heat over a medium heat. When heated add the alpaca mince and brown. When browned add all of the vegetables, stir until onions are translucent, then add chopped fresh tomato or canned tomato, allow to simmer for about 5 minutes before adding tomato paste and pasata. Add 2 cups beef stock a pinch of chilli (optional). Add mixed herbs & paprika, if the tomato is too acidic add sugar. Fresh basil is also a good addition to this dish. Reduce the heat to simmer and cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 30min (if you’re not in a hurray cook for 45 min to get and even richer flavour). Ensure you check to make sure that the sauce doesn’t get to dry, it needs to thicken into a rich sauce withour drying out, add more stock if required. You can replace stock with water but the sauce doesn’t have the same richness.Taste the sauce for seasoning, add salt and pepper to taste. Once cooked leave on the stove to rest while you prepare the rest of the lasagne.
Making the Bechemal Sauce
Now you can make the sauce the old fashioned way in a sauce pan but I prefer to cheat. I add equal parts plain flour to equal parts butter (for a lasagne of this size normally 2 desert spoons of flour to 2 desert spoons butter) into a microwave safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 1-1.5 minutes, until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon mix to a paste then add approx 300 ml of milk and heat in the microwave in 1.5 minute bursts, ensuring that you stir the sauce at the end of each burst, contiune until thickened. Using the microwave reduces the chance of the sauce burning on the bottom of the pan.
Once thickened add ground nutmeg, parmesan and pepper to taste. I find the paresan adds enough salt but I don’t use a lot of salt, you may want to add more salt after tasting.
Assembling the Lasagne
Spead a layer of meat sauce in a medium sized baking dish. Then add a thin drizzle of bechemal sauce topped with a layer of instant lasagne sheets, repeat this another two layers. Top the dish with a layer of lasagne sheets, cover with bechemal sauce and then grate fresh parmesan and tasty cheese on top. Bake at 170-180 c for 20-25 min. Insert a fork to check that the pasta is tender. Once cooked let stand for about 20 minutes to cool before eating. This dish tastes even better on day 2 so its great to prepare in advance or even freeze for a later day.