With a slightly hazy head from too many Negroni's the night before, I sat wrapped up on the sofa, a huge mug of tea in hand with a pile of cookbooks to plan the evening's culinary delights! After dismissing too many complex and fancy recipes, I decided there was only one thing for it...Jamie Oliver's Simple Baked Lasagne. The perfect accompaniment to our relaxed even was definitely a huge steaming bowl of homely comfort food!
However this isn't any old standard lasagne, oh no...this beauty is also bursting full herbs, punchy chili and butternut squash! A plate-lickingly good recipe which I can't wait for you ALL to try on your next Saturday sofa night in!
For the filling...
4 rashers pancetta or smoked bacon, finely sliced
1 pinch cinnamon
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 handfuls fresh herbs (sage, oregano, rosemary, thyme)
400g shin of beef or stewing beef, minced coarsely
200g pork belly, skin removed, minced
2 x 400g tinned plum tomatoes
2 glasses red wine or water
2 bay leaves
1 butternut squash, halved, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, bashed
1 dried red chili, bashed
Freshly ground black pepper
400g fresh lasagne sheets
400g mozzarella, torn up
For the white sauce...
500 ml crème fraîche
3 anchovies, finely chopped (I didn't include these and it was still amazing!)
2 handfuls Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
A little milk, optional
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.
2. Prep and chop all your ingredients
3. In a large casserole-type pan slowly fry the pancetta and cinnamon until golden, then add the onion, carrot, garlic and herbs and approx 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix together, then add the beef and pork.
4. Cook for around 5 mins, then add the tinned tomatoes and the wine/water. Add the bay leaves and bring to the boil. Get some greaseproof paper, wet it and place it on top of the pan with a lid placed on top.
5. Put in the preheated oven for 2 hours or simmer on the hob over a gentle heat for around an hour and a half. I thought this was the perfect time for a quick breather and maybe a big glass of the left over wine!!
7. When the sauce is done, season to taste and put to one side. Remove the butternut squash and allow to cool slightly.
8. Mix together your crème fraîche, anchovies, and a handful of Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper. If the sauce needs loosening add a little milk.
9. Turn the oven up to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6.
10. To assemble the lasagne, rub an ovenproof lasagne dish with olive oil, lay some sheets of lasagne over the bottom and drape them over the sides. (If you can't find fresh lasagne then dried lasagne simmered will also work). Add a layer of meat, a little white sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Then break the butternut squash into pieces and use this as the next layer. Repeat the layers, finishing by folding all the pasta over like a patchwork quilt!
11. Top with a final layer of white sauce, tear over the mozzarella and sprinkle with some extra Parmesan. Cook in the preheated oven for 30–35 minutes until golden.
12. Dig in and devour!!!