Over the bank holiday weekend I invited our parents over for dinner. I wanted a relaxed, family meal and what better than lasagna with the classic accompaniments of salad and garlic bread? After all, the Italians sure know how to feed a family!
For the lasagna I made my bolognese sauce, not an entirely classic ragù perhaps, but one that I like. I used 600g of beef mince for a lasagne to serve 6. Once that was cooked I whipped up a bechemel sauce. For this I gently heated 600ml of milk with a halved onion, a bay leaf and 6 peppercorns. A grating of nutmeg is nice but to be perfectly honest I forgot it! Once the milk started to come to the boil I took it off the heat, then in a separate pan made a roux, which is a cooked mixture of butter and flour used to thicken sauces. To make the roux I melted 50g of butter and then added 50g of plain flour, stirring quickly with a wooden spoon to form a smooth paste. Once that was done I whisked in the milk and heated gently until the sauce was of a good consistency.
Next came the assembly. There’s many a debate to be had about how to layer the meat sauce, pasta and bechemel and whether to use cheese in between or not, but I’ll share with you my way, which is a layer of meat sauce, a layer of pasta (unless using non-cook sheets you should cook the pasta first), then a layer of bechemel, and so on. Finally I generously grate parmesan cheese over the top. I baked the lasagne at 190c. It should take around 35-40 minutes and is ready when it’s bubbling and golden.
I made my own garlic bread by slicing a bagette all the way along, making sure not to cut all the way through, so it was still in one piece, and then filling it with a mixture of butter, chopped parsley and crushed garlic cloves. I used 3 cloves and grated them in which made them quite potent, so I think I’d go with a more sociable 2 cloves next time! To cook it I loosley wrapped it in foil and put it in the oven at 200c for 10 minutes, then opened up the foil and cooked it for a further 5 minutes to brown and crisp up on top.